The quiet, pastoral appearance of Chili Gulch today belies its early day reputation as the richest and most-worked gulch in the county. As early as 1848, three camps were located along the gulch, mostly populated by Chilean miners. It was near this site in 1849 that the Chilean War occurred.Read More
California State Highway 49: The Golden Chain
California State Highway 49, the “Mother Lode Highway,” can truly take you back to the days of ’49. The road connects gold rush mining camps, ghost towns and historic sites from Oakhurst in the south, to Sierra City in the north. It’s three hundred miles of beautiful country along the foothills of the Sierra Mountains. Twisting mountain roads, sheer granite walls, precipitous drops to swiftly moving rivers. Old buildings, gold mines, forgotten cemeteries. Let’s go see what we can find.
First settled in the summer of 1848 by a party of miners from Sonora, Mexico, the place was logically named Sonorian Camp, later shortened to Sonora. The area was one of rich placers; contemporary reports tell of three Frenchmen who took out three and a half pounds of gold in less than three hours work. At a spot known as Holdens Gardens, a party of eight men unearthed the famous Holden Chispa, a gold nugget weighing over twenty-eight pounds. The owners turned down an offer of $4,500 at the time of the discovery. When all the mining was panned and done, the placers had produced over $11 million in gold.Read More