The diggings here were discovered prior to 1850, but the rush to the
area began in the spring of that year. Lured by the news of rich
diggings, the miners poured into the area from all directions, eager to
make their strike. Many would see their wish come true, as the diggings
were located on the Blue Lead gravels of the Tertiary Yuba River, one of
the most productive placers of the gold region. Early claims were
limited to fifty feet, and it was only a matter of time before extensive
tunnels penetrated the mountain, ranging from two hundred to five
thousand feet deep.
The location of the town couldn’t be prettier. Located on the summit
of the Forest Hill Divide between the Middle Fork of the American River
and Shirt-tail Canyon, the town is at an elevation of 3,400 feet and
surrounded by thousands of acres of tall pines. The camp was originally
located a short distance downslope from its present site, but when the
fire of 1852 destroyed most of the town, it was rebuilt higher on the
hill and with more substantial materials.
The big boom came in 1853, after the winter storms broke loose a
large mass of gravel at the head of Jenny Lind Canyon. The exposed
ground fairly glittered with chunks of gold. The mines in the region
included the Jenny Lind, the New Jersey, the Gore, the Independence, the
Deidesheimer, the Dardanelles, the Rough and Ready, and many other
smaller operations. The total combined production of these mines reached
well over $10 million in gold.
By the late 1850’s, Foresthill (also spelled as Forest Hill in some
accounts) was an important town in the mountains, claiming its own
newspaper, several fire-proof hotels, stores, banks, elegant saloons,
and numerous neat homes with gardens and orchards. The post office was
established on June 27 of 1859; unfortunately, the gold began to play
out shortly thereafter and the town’s decline began as people moved off
to better diggings or other opportunities.
Foresthill is located seventeen miles northeast of Auburn via
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