Posted By Erin on April 29, 2012
Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park
310 Back St.
Colma, CA 95613
Price: $8 per car for a day pass.
In the 1840′s John Sutter was hanging out in what would become Sacramento trying to get his shiny new fort (shockingly enough, named Sutter’s Fort) up and running. Being as this was back in the Days of Dirt, the best building supplies at the time were timber. Luckily for Sutter, there was a fantasic source of trees right up in the hills.
In order to get the timber processed and shipped down river, Sutter went about building a timber mill with James W. Marshall. While getting the mill set up, Marshall managed to stumble across gold in the American River setting off one of the biggest mass migrations of people in the western hemisphere, the California Gold Rush.
The site is now a State Historic Park featuring 20 historic buildings, a replica of the original saw mill and numerous live demonstrations.
The American River at the Discovery Site.
Ok, if you are going to have singage out in the sun, it might be best to update it every once in a while. Cause, this? Is not helpful.
The actual gold discovery spot. I think I would more expect to find Swamp Thing than Gold, but that’s why I’m not a millionaire.
Very Large Monument
Yes, the water was DAMN cold.
The replica of the mill. The original was torn quite some time ago, but you can check out of the the original logs off to the side.
A miniature of the mill, inside the museum.
Gold nuggets, which look somewhat smoother AND lumpier than I imagined.
The very well stocked gift shop.
Wisteria, which is very pretty when it’s blooming, looks like dead sticks every other time.
The old jail cells. Features a big sign asking people not to climb around on it. Most likely because they are scared that you will fall on your head or that it will fall on your head, either way, that would be bad.
Inside the American River Conservancy building. I must give a shout out to Joann who was both knowledgable and enthusiastic, loading me up with all kinds of interesting pamphlets and information, especially the Wakamatsu Colony Festival which I am most excited about.
A working blacksmith shop.
No idea what this pretty flowering tree is, but the butterflies seem to like it as much as I did.
A water cannon. An effective, but not exactly environmentally friendly way of mining.
A replica of the inside of a mine. And suddenly I know why mining is not in my future.
Bedrock mortars. A reminder that gold is not the only thing that was displaced by Marshall’s discovery.
I must mention the rather cool Marshall Gold Discovery App that you can use as a virtual tour guide, providing information (and occasionally, videos) about each major area. I would warn anyone who plans to use this to download before you go up as cell reception is pretty crappy up there (apparently there is wi fi available at the museum, but I was unaware of this at the time).
Awesome-O-Meter: 4 Awesomes A fun, historically interesting site. If you have any interest in how gold mining works and/or mining towns operated this is the place to go. Lots of information and shops to check out as well as black smith and gold panning demonstrations.
Day passes are somewhat hard to obtain if you don’t know to go up to the museum (cash or check into a little envelope). Really, if you have the tech to set up smart phone apps, you can bust out with an electronic parking meter-like machines.
However, that really was my only annoyance, the rest was fun, informative and interesting.Related posts
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