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Honored at Last - James Marshall
Never a good businessman, James Marshall failed to profit from the many opportunities the gold rush offered. He ended his days as a carpenter and blacksmith in Kelsey, unrecognized officially for his unique role in history.
After Marshall’s death in 1885, local and state figures made plans to honor that role. Originating with the Placerville Parlor of Native Sons, the idea of a monument was suggested to the State Legislature, which appropriated a total of $9,000. On May 3, 1890, a crowd of 3,500 gathered at his hill-top grave site for the unveiling ceremony, listening to poems, prayers, band music, and speeches praising Marshall and the forty-niners.
The Statue is constructed of “statuary bronze”, an alloy of lead, tin and zinc painted a bronze color. Marshall points to the place on the American River where he discovered gold. To find that place yourself, take a “Discovery Trail” that starts at the replica of Sutter’s sawmill, opposite the visitor center. James Wilson Marshall is buried beneath the monument.
You can't miss this little bit of history when you visit the Monument ... California State Highway 153 - California's shortest State highway! The road extends only 0.5 miles from State Route 49.
Erected by the State of California in memory of James W. Marshall 1810 – 1885 Whose discovery of gold January 24, 1848 In the trailrace of Sutter’s Mill at Coloma, started the great rush of Argonauts, Monument unveiled May 3, 1890.
Source: Site of James W. Monument in ColomaPhotos courtesy of Bob Darling Photography