Gold Towns: Yankee Jim’s

In the 1850s Yankee Jim’s was one of the largest mining centers in Placer County, boasting a population of around 5,000. In Gold Rush days, the town was a raucous place.  Located about 3 miles northwest of Foresthill and gold-rich in itself, Yankee Jim’s was also the site of the rich Jenny Lind Canyon mine, discovered when the severe storms of 1852-53 caused a huge landslide that exposed an abundance of gold. The Jenny Lind Canyon mine alone yielded $2,000 to $2,500 in gold every day. The man who called himself “Yankee Jim” may have been Irish or Australian instead of a Yankee, but for sure he was a horse thief who idled away some hours mining along the river bars in 1849. Seeking to keep his gold find a secret, he built a corral for his stolen horses atop the richest mine in the vicinity. Unfortunately for him, miners who were working the nearby Foresthill area discovered his thievery and the riches he tried to conceal. Although Yankee Jim barely escaped lynching, the mining town that evolved took his name. The town’s post office operated from 1852 until 1940. Over time most of the population moved away, but a small community still exists. Gnarled, long-forgotten orchards and notices of current gold claims can be seen on the old stage road from Foresthill. Yankee Jim’s is California Historical Landmark No. 398—the historical marker is located on the southeast corner of Colfax, Foresthill and Spring Garden Roads.

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