Mount Ophir

Town History - Gold Discovery, Early Citizenry, Legends

Historic Sites - Local Ruins, Relics, Buildings & Scenery
      ē The Mount Ophir Ruins
      ē Assorted Ruins

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


Town History

      The white, quartz-capped mountain is the prominent landmark of Mount Ophir, whose site is easy to miss as it is no longer on Hwy 49, but on a bypassed segment of the old road. The first gold in this area was discovered by Mexican miners in 1848, who reportedly took out $217,000 worth in one week. Originally christened Ophir in 1851, the campís post office was established under the same name on February 20 of 1852, only to be amended to Mount Ophir on November 3 of 1856. This was most likely done to avoid confusion with the mining camp of the same name near Auburn in Placer County.
      Standing near the small stream which runs through Mount Ophir, itís hard to imagine that at one time a sawmill, twenty-four steam driven stamps, a quartz mine, hotel, stores and cabins once existed on cleared land here in the late 1850ís. And while there are only a few ruins left to mark the site of this once prosperous camp, itís a great spot to experience the effects nature must have had on the miners of the Gold Rush. Stewart White describes one effect well in Old California: ďNo one who has not experienced it can begin to realize the power of the midsummer sun reflected back and back again from canyon wall and naked rock. The very lizards gasp.Ē Visit the site on a hot summer day and place yourself in the minersí boots, levis and flannel shirts, working without benefit of shade as all the trees had been cut down for lumber and firewood. It wasnít an easy way to make a living. But the promise, or rather, the possibility of gold, was enough to make the miners forget their discomforts and concentrate on the job at hand. Mount Ophir is located just west of Hwy 49, about one mile north of the Old Toll Road to Hornitos. The site is near a bypassed segment of the old road which branches off the main highway.

Travelers' Tips


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