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Historic Properties Once Owned by African American Families in Coloma
Through historic research, State Parks has confirmed that portions of land within Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma were owned by the Burgess family. Rufus Burgess owned approximately 9 acres of property prior to his death. After his death, Josephine Burgess sold the lot that Rufus's blacksmith shop occupied to the Gallagher family, reducing her property holdings. Much of the land was purchased by the state of California through eminent domain and real estate transactions between the state of California and the Burgess family. As it relates to the Emmanuel Church, research conducted to date has not found documentation that the property where the Emmanuel Church resides was previously owned by the Burgess Family. The records do show the Burgess family owned property next to a different church known as the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church that is no longer standing.
Historicorps Helps Breathe New Life Into IOOF Hall
Although the miners have long since disappeared, and the American River waterway is now cherished for recreational possibilities more than mineral riches, remnants of the California Gold Rush can still be found throughout the mother lode. One such vestige at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma, California is the community hall built by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF). Between March 21 and April 9, through a partnership with California State Parks and Historicorps, the lodge, one of the oldest fraternal organization buildings in the state, will get some much needed deferred maintenance.
HistoriCorps provides volunteers of all skill levels with a hands-on experience preserving historic structures on public lands across America and has been working with California State Parks for many years, most recently at Bodie and Monterrey State Historic Parks. Through a Master Agreement put together by State Parks staff, Historicorps will help with the restoration of the iconic IOOF hall with 3 weeklong work sessions beginning March 21, March 28 and April 4. Volunteers will be fixing the dilapidated clapboard siding, priming and painting the exterior, and performing other work to make the building safe and functional.
Gold Fields District Staff Visit Hawver Cave
The hills of El Dorado County are full of more than just gold; limestone caverns have also abound. Around 1900, John C. Hawver, an amateur geologist, discovered a limestone cave near Cool. The cave was explored by the University of California Berkeley in 1907 and bones of prehistoric animals and human beings were found, including the tusks from a mastodon.
This limestone deposit provided more than just a glimpse into prehistoric life. It became a thriving commercial enterprise known as Mountain Quarries where limestone for cement and processing sugar beets was mined. At its peak production, the plant employed between 150-200 men working two eight-hour shifts and produced between 1000-1500 tons of limestone per day.
The quarry was located on the... READ MORE>>
Marshall Gold Decorates a Tree Along Hwy 50
Christmas Tree Lane along Highway 50 in Placerville has been a festive custom for nearly 50 years. First conceived in 1971 by Robert Conrad in an effort to boost awareness of local Christmas tree farms, the tradition has become a hallmark of the holiday season.
Christmas Tree Lane is administered by the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce and local organizations and businesses sponsor a tree providing the decorations and festooning the tree. This year more than ever, the chamber felt the need to continue this tradition as, “the brightly decorated trees along Highway 50 give much-needed joy to our community and travelers. Now more than ever we need to keep that spirit alive.”
The chamber held a lottery to choose the groups... READ MORE>>
2020 Quilt Project Update
The Marshall Gold Discovery SHP community quilt project is well underway and headed toward the finish line! Twenty five volunteers and/or staff created and submitted a quilt square to be included in this work of art. Many of the participants were first time quilters, and some have become quilting enthusiasts!
REcently, a dedicated group of staff and volunteers met to determine how the squares should be arranged... READ MORE>>
Marshall Gold Embraces Distance Learning
By Holly Thane, Interpreter I
It is safe to say that we really missed all our fourth-grade visitors this year! Because we still want to share our park and its history with schoolchildren around the state, and because we are not likely to see classes in the park in spring 2021, we decided to join California State Parks PORTS team!
PORTS is an acroynym for Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students. This program enables teachers to schedule their class for their own personal virtual field trip of the park. Twice a day on Tuesdays and Thursdays, park Interpreter I Holly Thane has been signing on to Zoom with classes across the state and providing them with a 45-minute tour of the park. READ MORE>>
Virtual Events are the Order of the Day in 2020
As with so many other events this year, Coloma Gold Rush Live became a casualty of the pandemic. The annual four day event, which features a gold rush style tent town with over 100 volunteer inhabitants, was called in August amidst concerns for the saftey of the volunteers, staff and visitors.
But, that did not mean that park staff and volunteers could not present a modified, if smaller scale, virtual version of the event. On Thursday and Friday, October 8 and 9, the park presented 8 Facebook Live segments, specifically aimed at our fourth grade friends who were not able to experience gold rush history at the park. Facebook Live allows viewers to interact READ MORE>>