Prep for Gold Discovery Day

On Saturday, January 20 we will be commemorating the diversity of the Coloma Valley and the discovery of gold on January 24, 1848 (170 years ago). Members of the El Dorado Indigenous Tribe will be by the grinding rock and bark houses interpreting their culture. Other living history activities will be taking place by the mill this month. We would like volunteers to focus on the following themes:


  • Stories of how emigrants made their way to California – by land or sea

  • John Sutter and Sutter’s Fort – that the mill was being built for Sutter, and that the workers at the mill came up from Sutter’s Fort, what life was like at Sutter's Fort, etc.

  • Gold Panning techniques – we should have a few different kinds of pans for display. Also rocker boxes. If you can do some research on this prior, that would be great.

  • Carpentry – how the lumber milled at Sutter’s Mill might have been used – again research – we can also set up the log sawing station if someone wants to interpret that.

  • If I talked to you about something other than these topic, please proceed with what we discussed.


I know this is short notice, but appreciate your efforts to tell this story. James Marshall (aka Ed Allen) will be at the mill and we will have some flys setup for volunteers. I have also included links to sites with information on some of these topics.


Thank you for all your efforts!


Panama Route


Cape Horn Route


Interesting map shows routes at the time


Powerpoint on all three routes


Sutter’s Fort to Coloma

Sutter's Fort, established by Capt. John A. Sutter in August 1839, marked the western end of the Coloma Road. Opened in 1847, this road ran from the fort to Sutter's sawmill at Coloma. Used by James W. Marshall in January 1848 to bring the news of the gold discovery to Sutter, it was traversed later by thousands of miners going to and from the diggings. In 1849 the Coloma Road became the route of California's first stageline, established by James E. Birch.


Sutter’s Fort



If you have any questions, email Jerrie Beard or call (530) 622-1048





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