Gold Towns: Auburn

Frenchman Claude Chana discovered gold in Auburn Ravine in May 1848, while on his way from his home on the Bear River to Coloma. Hordes of prospectors and adventurers soon poured into Chana’s new discovery site, and the town that developed nearby in early 1849 was first known as North Fork Dry Diggings. Those early diggings were very rich: it was not unusual for a miner to take out $1,000 to $3,000 a day. It is thought that a large group of miners there, who had come to California with Stevenson’s Volunteer Regiment in 1846 from Auburn, New York, changed the town’s name to that of their hometown in the summer of 1849. In the spring of 1850, populous Auburn became the seat of Sutter County. Then in April 1851, Placer County was created from a portion of Sutter County, and Auburn was again chosen as the seat of the new county, as it remains. It has always been the center of extensive staging and freighting operations; during the 1860s and 1870s, Auburn also developed into a cultural and social center. Noteworthy places in historic Old Town Auburn include the three-story Auburn Hook and Ladder Company Fire House Number Two, the Auburn Post Office dating from 1852 (the oldest operating post office in California), the Empire Livery Stable, and the imposing Placer County Courthouse, built in 1894.  Auburn is a registered California Historical Landmark.

Gold Towns: Angels Camp

Angels Camp is named for its founder Henry Pinkney Angell (with two l’s), a native Rhode Islander who found gold in 1849 at the confluence of two creeks. Henry invested his new wealth by opening a tent store on his discovery site, becoming one of the first merchants in the newly established gold camp. The Lake Hotel, Continue reading Gold Towns: Angels Camp

New Year’s Eve

In the last decade of the 19th century Californians celebrated the coming of a new year much like we do today, with parties, games, and resolutions to better themselves. Churches drew the faithful for services with choirs and special sermons on New Year’s Eve; masquerade balls promised to usher out the old and usher in the New Year in style. Gatherings were advertised as “Watch Parties,” that is, watching for the midnight hour to chime out from clocks while fashionably clad and bejeweled guests dined, danced, and socialized. In December 1897 the San Francisco Call announced that their new offices would sponsor a brilliant electrical display until “the Merry Bells Ring in the Glad New Year,” and also noted a football game to be held New Year’s Day 1898 in Alameda between the San Francisco Vampires and the Oakland Saturday Night Combination.

The Year to Come

As this New Year 2018 ushers in new opportunities and world-wide concerns, it is well to remember that history-making events don’t occur in a vacuum; they’re instigated by men and women chasing other ambitions or escaping from unsatisfactory conditions.  Christopher Columbus was looking for a sea passage Continue reading The Year to Come

Here Comes Santa Claus

When the Dutch settled in New York in 1624, they brought  their holiday custom of a gift-giving Sinterklaas, a fictitious figure based on Saint Nicholas, a first century AD Greek bishop known for his love of children and his generous gifts to those in need. In 1804 the New York Historical Society chose Saint Nicolas as their Continue reading Here Comes Santa Claus