Dutch Flat

Town History - Gold Discovery, Early Citizenry, Legends

Historic Sites - Local Ruins, Relics, Buildings & Scenery
      • The Dutch Flat Schoolhouse
      • The Methodist Episcopal Church
      • The I.O.O.F. Hall and Masonic Hall

Travelers' Tips - Directions, Museums, Lodging, &c

Town History

      A group of Germans settled down on a small flat here in 1851 and began working the streams and gullies. Their camp became known as Dutch Charlie’s Flat, named after Charles Dornbach, one of the original settlers who with his brother Joseph operated a general store and way station at the flat while not prospecting for gold. When the post office was established a few years later in 1856, the town became known as Dutch Flat.
      While the placers in the area paid fairly well during the camp’s early years, they were nothing to get worked up about, and the camp remained small and quiet. The real riches of Dutch Flat lay hidden deep beneath the surface in the gravels of the Blue Lead. And when hydraulic mining was introduced in the area in 1857, the town boomed, reaching its peak during the 1860’s when some forty-five hydraulic claims were working within a one and a half mile radius of town, creating the diggings, described as “miles in extent, rugged man-made canyons and deep amphitheaters abounding with rocks and stone and pebbles of various shapes and colors.”
      Dutch Flat holds the distinction of being the first mining camp where the newly invented “Giant Powder” (dynamite) was extensively used in gold mining. The hydraulic mines in the area continued to produce fantastic amounts of gold well into the 1870’s. A quartz boulder was found in the Polar Star Mine in 1876 that contained $5,700 worth of fine gold. A Chinese company found a $12,000 nugget in July of 1877. The gold at Dutch Flat assayed as high as 970 degrees fineness, a remarkably pure content for placer gold. Roughly $5 million in gold was taken from the area before the hydraulic mines ceased operation in 1884. It is estimated that another $30 million or more in gold still hides in the gravelly ridge, lonely, awaiting the miners’ return.

Travelers' Tips

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