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Thursday, September 9, 2010

History with a touch of Fall in the air....latest adventure!

Yesterday was supposed to be entirely different. We had planned to drive to the coast. It is about 2-3 hours with the traffic, but not an unenjoyable or hard drive to make. We keep saying we are going to do it, and then do not. Our daughter Rebecca teases us that we never quite make it there. I guess we once again earned that teasing.

My husband had just worked 14 days strait and had not been sleeping well on top of it, and I was feeling the drain that good Old Mother Nature's visit can bring on. The weather had suddenly changed as well over night and it was not just cool out, but over cast as well. Perfect sleeping in conditions. We both did so. Not late mind you, and both of us had woken up a few times and thinking the other was still sleeping rolled over and dozed back off. We started off slow and groggy as well and just decided to stay close to home and have brunch and then head out.

We had driven through Coloma on one of our many treks up and down HWY 49 many times and always said " we need to stop and explore this area".
There is a historic park there . Marshall Gold Discovery...State Historic Park. Basically the entire town of Coloma is an state park. But we always drive past and never stop. This time it was the destination of choice. So in a little under an hour, having made the round about trip ( there is no direct route to HWY 49 destinations) , we arrived.

We paid our 8.00 a car fee, and then discovering both sets of batteries were dead, even my rechargeable, we drove up the street to the local mini market and bought a pack of batteries... stopping to take a photo of the Thrift store across the street ( I thought it was kind of neat)
and headed back to the museum to take a few photos inside there and wait for the 1:00 talk at Sutter's Mill. There is so many nifty dioramas, and exhibits and even mini movies that you can watch, as well as a gift store to explore before going out to explore the rest of the park...this is just a sample....
  After exploring all the museum , reading about the Indians ( More than 80% of California Native Americans had perished by the time Marshall and Sutter Came to the state in the mid 1800's) , as well as the strong Asian influence during the Gold Rush ( even remaining today) and about the miners, equipment and area, we were off to go listen to the Ranger over at the Mill.
He was the same ranger that had checked us in, funds are tight in CA. for parks and so they pull double and triple duty. He was a wealth of knowledge and I really wish I had a tape recorder to gather it all, and in trying to find information on line, well that has proven difficult, this link will provide quite a bit for the photos that I share. 

A few points that I picked up at the Sutter's Mill talk, within the Marshall Gold Discovery Park were these...I jotted down as fast as I could....
*200 Indians in Coloma at time that Sutter and Marshall were there. 
*No nails were used in the building of the mill. The current mill is a reproduction of the original. It was rebuilt in 1967, using the original sketches as well as the method of using pegs to keep it together. Just like then , it never has worked well since they can not get the water down to the Mill site to run it very often. 
* This area is very important historically. It was the first land granted by the Mexican Government to someone who was not Mexican. One mile from the  mills Location began the area of land, 48,000 acres granted to John Sutter by the Governor of Mexico at the time. It was granted to him under the guise of using it to defend Mexico from incoming US citizens. He actually wanted it for farming land , to grow wheat and make flour at his Fort and sell it to in coming Sailors from the UK to San Francisco. Sutter later was declared a Mexican citizen and lost all the land.
* Another HUGE point of interest is that the place where James Marshall now rests , his monument was the FIRST Historic Monument in the state of California. And can be seen high upon a hill from the Mills site. 

Now look and see if you can spot the monument at the top of this mountain.... This is some of the views you see from the mills location....  The cabin is a replica of the Morman's cabin where they lived while working on the mine... The building across the street isThe Wah Hop and Man Lee Stores
The remains of a substantial Chinese colony restored and open for viewing , exhibiting mining methods, household articles, tools and a way of life gone by.

 This is the view down the street and surrounding buildings....
A camp area and the Blacksmiths.... Various businesses and the post office....What is now a nature center and then an old brick building that is nothing but a roof, and no back wall..... 

 There is so much to see in this state park, and I took many more photos....Saturday I will show you the close up of the interiors of a few more , including a Ghost story about one of them, as well as the monument and surrounding are and then on Sunday will share a few of the wonderful shots of the wild life that was roaming all around . Tomorrow...French Girl Friday.


  1. I never got to see this place...i enjoyed the pictures. i love pics of old half there or boarded up buildings that are still standing. i am finally getting to see more of my home state!

  2. It's amazing what you can find close to home, isn't it? We used to love bed and breakfasts within 300 miles of our home for weekend getaways and great stories... looking forward to your next post... come visit when you can....


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