Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Visit to Coloma (40 Years Ago)

Good morning. Tina here. I am going to share with you some photos of one of my favorite places, Coloma, California. Gold was discovered there in 1848, and a gold rush started in 1949. If it hadn't been for Coloma, there wouldn't be any Gold Country Girls, so I am thankful for this wonderful town. All of the Gold Country Girls used to work in Coloma at one time.
In the years 2007 and 2008 there was a hot air balloon company which made trips over Coloma. They were closed down when neighbors complained. I always planned on taking one of their flights. When I was out watering in early morning, I could look down the river and see the brightly colored rainbow balloon. It was about the size of a dime since it was over a mile away. It looked like a lot of fun.
Apparently they had to land wherever they ended up, which was usually someones driveway. That was the problem with the neighbors, I believe. They never made it to my driveway, they would have been welcome. Maybe someday they will come back.
About 40 years ago my husband , a friend and I went to Coloma to check it out. Bill, obviously a child of the 60's, made sure he posed by the Keep Off sign. Since we weren't arrested, we continued on with our visit.
Coloma has changed a lot over the years since 1848. It has been built up, burned, was once the county seat of El Dorado County, and now is a state park, which very nearly closed this year due to the California State budget problems. Luckily for us, the powers that be realized if there was no Coloma, there might not even be a State of California.
This is Mount Murphy. A few years ago it burned. There is a house at the top but they escaped the flames. I have a lot of shots of the fire from our house. It was a few ridges off from us, thank goodness, and so I could watch without fear. It is a beautiful historic hillside which is covered with poppies in late winter. I will do a post on the poppies one of these days.
This is a photo of visitors to Coloma in 1948 for the centennial. They were getting special Coloma postmarks on their mail with special 1948 stamps. The Coloma post office still hand stamps at Christmas with a beautiful Christmas in Coloma postmark. A friend of ours always sends his Christmas Cards out with the hand stamp. This year it featured a Gold miner and donkey and snowflakes fashioned out of picks, square nails, horseshoes, etc.
Here I am in the park. There are beautiful picnic grounds with wonderful large grinding rocks. I have always enjoyed the hike from the picnic grounds up to the James Marshall Monument which overlooks the river where he discovered gold. Watch out for the poison oak though!
This is an old postcard showing the main street of Coloma, which is now Highway 49, when it was still dirt. Notice the old gent by the side of the road. I like to imagine he might be James Marshall.
The site where Sutter's Mill stood now has a rock monument. It sometimes is beside the river, sometimes in the river, since the river changes course every so often. Not as often now since they built the Chili Bar dam in the early 60's.
This is an old postcard showing Marshall's cabin, where he lived while working at the sawmill. Later he moved to Kelsey where I live, and lived in a cabin very similar, and about as dilapidated. He did not get rich from his discovery. But he did become famous.
Rafting is a very popular sport in Coloma. Hard to see in this photo how a raft would get through here. At the time this photo was taken, in 1970, rafting had not yet become a common recreational sport.
This is an old postcard showing one of the old Coloma bridges. If I drive to Coloma from my house I have to go across a great old one lane bridge (sharing it with tourists) before I can get to the little town.
This is the replica of the sawmill built by Sutter. It is just upriver from the actual site and built out of the river path so that people can walk around and on it. Marshall discovered the gold nuggets in the mill trace while working to cut lumber for Sutter to build his fort in Sacramento.
This is an old photograph of a bank and a store built and used by Chinese laborers. The Chinese were awesome workers in the Gold Country and an important part of early California history.
All through Coloma there are various plaques and monuments, old buildings, history abounds. It is fun to walk through and explore everywhere.
This is an old photo of the Bell Store, which still stands in Coloma. It is a wonderful old brick building. Trees of Heaven grow inside where merchandise used to be stacked.
This is my son at the picnic grounds in Coloma 1973. I have taken his daughters to the same place for picnics. It is a special piece of Gold Country heaven that I am happy to live close to. I hope you enjoyed our visit.


yosemite faith said...

fantastic photos!

Jennifer D said...

Thank you for the wonderful tour. I really enjoyed it.

Are you getting snow on your side of the mountain?

Deb said...

Wonderful pictures. I love taking "arm chair" tours to places I've never seen. One day I may get to visit Coloma, as California is one place that I would love to see.

Heidi Ann said...

Another fabulous post, Tina!! Loved the walk down memory lane and the history lesson.

Tina Dawn said...

Jennifer, no snow now, just rain. We really don't get much snow, Dec. 7th was a fluke. Welcome Deb. Please visit again and comment, I plan to show more of where I live in future blogs. Faith and Heidi thanks for the nice comments.

joshinabox said...

great pics mom. who's that kid? he needs a hair cut! (:

Tina Dawn said...

Hey, it was the 70s after all! Bowl cuts for cute little boys were totally in. Love Mom

Twyla and Lindsey said...

These photos are so fun to see! Weren't you so pretty! Twyla

walterworld said...

Enjoyed the visit to Coloma; I took my kids there in 1999, so it's time for a return trip I think ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm doing research on the region and stumbled on your blog entry. It was helpful and fun to read. Thanks for taking the time.
I wanted to point out your first mention of the dates of the gold rush,(1948). I'm sure you mean 1848.

again thanks for sharing the pictures.