The California Gold Country: Highway 49 Revisited
"A Frenzy seized my soul: unbidden my legs performed some entirely new movements of polka steps, I took several....Piles of gold rose before me at every step; castles of marble, dazzling the eye with their rich appliances; thousands of slaves bowing to my beck and call; myriads of fair virgins contending with each other for my love, were among the fancies of my fevered imagination. The Rothschilds, Girards and Astors appeared to me but poor people; in short, I had a very violent attack of the Gold Fever."
Prentice Mulford, an early participant of the California Gold Rush
wrote, “The California mining camp was ephemeral. Often it was founded,
built up, flourished, decayed, and had weeks and herbage growing over
its site and hiding all of man’s work inside of ten years.” Once the
gold played out, there was usually no reason for anyone to stay, and
the buildings and camps were left to the elements and the stray ghost
or two. But if a mining camp happened to be located on rich gold
deposits, or had some reason other than gold to exist, it may have been
able to maintain a continuous existence and have survived to this day.
....James H. Carson, Recollections of the California Mines.
While traveling through the Gold Country some 10 or 12 years ago,
the idea of writing a book about the Gold Rush mining camps came to me
in a vision, almost causing an accident. Intrigued by some old building
or half-hidden artifact on the side of the road, I wanted to learn more
about its history; when it was built, who built it, who used it, and so
forth. Often there was little or no information available to tell me
these things, so I started researching. Ten years later I finished The
California Gold Country: Highway 49 Revisited, and two years later, I
was able to publish it. The book is basically a photographic history of
the places and things left from the days of the California Gold Rush
that still exist for visitors to see today. It includes a map,
directions to the old sites, lots of full-color pictures, and the
history of those who founded and peopled the towns of the Gold Rush.
The Virtual California Gold Country link below will take you to an
abbreviated version of my book, a virtual edition Gold Rush
History/Mother Lode Tourguide/Desktop Picture book, if you will. On the
other hand, if you’re like me and you enjoy the tactile sensations of
physically holding and leafing through a quality, first edition,
oversized book with lots of great color pictures and fascinating text, click
here for ordering information. But feel free to browse through
the online version as well.
THE VIRTUAL CALIFORNIA GOLD COUNTRY—A history of the mining camps located on and about California State Highway 49, concerning their beginnings, the early-day settlers, the miners, the bandits, and the elephant. View vintage photos and illustrations, as well as current images of many surviving historic sites and buildings.
THE GOLD RUSH
- HISTORY—People, Places, Things.
- IMAGES—Contemporary views of life in the California Gold Mines.
- LITERATURE—Sample the literary talents of the Argonauts and their companions, or browse through current writings on California History and the Gold Rush. Peruse our list of currently available Gold Rush books for sale.
- POST CARDS—Take a look at the Gold Rush postcards I’ve created (they’re for sale!); or view some neat old Gold Rush postcards I’ve collected over the years (they’re not for sale!).
THE GOLD COUNTRY
- BOOKSTORE—Peruse our selection of Gold Rush books available for sale, courtesy of Malakoff &
Co.'s Gold Rush Bookstore, an associate of Amazon.com Books.
- CAVERNS—Explore some caves in the Gold Country. They’re cool.
- CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE—Gold Country Chambers of Commerce.
- EVENTS—There’s always something happening in the Gold Country.
- GOLD—Mines, Mining, Specimens, Prospecting, Treasure Hunting, &c.
- LODGING—Bed & Breakfasts, Resorts, Hotels, Motels, Rooms for Rent.
- MEDIA—Newspapers and Magazines of the Gold Country.
- MUSEUMS—Besides providing a glimpse of the Gold Rush, the museums of the Gold Country offer all manner of exhibits: local Indian history, agriculture, transportation &c.
- RECREATION—Touring, Rafting, Boating, Biking, Hiking, Camping.
- STATE PARKS—Big Trees, Grinding Rocks, Hydraulic Mines, Ghost Towns, Gold Discovery Site, Boomtowns, too cool.
- SUNDRY SITES—Interesting, Useful, Uncategorizable.
- TOURING—Taking a trip to the Gold Country? Here are some cool links.
- TOWN & COUNTY—Mining camps and counties on the web.
- CALIFORNIA SESQUICENTENNIALS—They're coming. 1998. 1999. 2000.