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image of Sutters Mill in ColomaDiscovery of Gold

James Marshall discovered gold in Coloma at Sutter's Mill on a cold January morning in 1848. By the end of 1849, over 100,000 gold-seekers came to California in search of the golden dream.

The gold gave out quickly at Coloma, and when the county seat was moved to Placerville in 1857, only a handful of Chinese miners remained to work the placers. The town became a place of grapes; in fact, some of the county's first vines are believed to have been planted near Coloma.

As the years went by, the town grew even quieter, overlooked by miners and history. It finally regained some importance in 1890 when the Marshall Monument was erected and people began visiting to see the place where it all began.

image of Marshall MonumentToday Coloma is a California State Park, for which visitors can be thankful. Many of the historic buildings have been preserved and restored, thereby offering a glimpse of what the town looked like during the days of gold. The park also contains an excellent museum, picnic grounds, hiking trails, and an operating re-creation of Sutter's Mill. And the South Fork of the American River is only a gold pan's throw away from anywhere in town, cold-blue, swift, and filled with gold. California State Park # link to

Also see the James W. Monument Story ...