Downieville ~ Sierra City
Sierra ~ see-air'-uh; Spanish: Craggy Mountain Range, taken from Latin serra, a saw: a mountain range with a sawtooth appearance.
Sierra County, northernmost in the Mother Lode, was named after the Sierra Buttes and founded in 1852. Gold was discovered in the North Fork of the Yuba River in November 1849. One of the world's largest nuggets, the "Monumental Nugget", was found in 1869 at Sierra City. E Clampus Vitus is rumored to have been founded in California's Sierra County. Elevations rise to 8,752 feet. Industy includes gold mining, lumber, cattle, dairy, agriculture, and recreation.
Points of interest, in addition to the mines below:
- Loyalton in beautiful Sierra Valley, a cattle and lumber center with museum
- Yuba Pass, open all year
- Sierraville, recreation and resorts
Other spots in the county include Allegheny, Goodyear's Bar, Scales, Brandy City, Port Wine, Calpine, Queen City, Sattley, Poverty Hill, Poker Flat, Bassetts, and Indian Valley.
SIERRA COUNTY MINING CAMPS
Downieville ~ First called The Forks, it was settled by Major William Downie, a Scottish prospector. One of the highest elevations in the State, and perhaps the most scenic town, Downieville is the only goldburg to ever have hanged a woman. Juanita, a beautiful but hot-tempered dance hall girl, stabbed and killed Scottish miner Jack Cannon, she said in self-defense, but she was promptly hanged. The incident made news around the world. California's oldest continuously published weekly, the Mountain Messenger, has run since 1853. Located here are the County Museum and Old Gallows.Visit Kyburz Flat for prehistoric rock art, a restored basque oven, and stage stop.
Sierra City ~ This camp was located east on Hwy. 49, with the spectacular Sierra Buttes in the background. It was plagued by killer avalanches instead of fires, like other gold towns. Three catastrophic avalances occurred in the 1880s, killing many people. The Sierra Buttes Mine was discovered in 1850 and produced $17 million in gold. Sierra City hosted 22 saloons in its heyday. Here you will see a Wells Fargo building, waterfalls, gold mines, Kentucky Mine Museum, and the North Yuba Art Center.
Oroville ~ (Butte County) It's not on Hwy. 49 and it's not in Sierra County, but it has a full gold rush history. In 1849 miners came and did all kinds of mining, including placer and hydraulic. Gold dredging started here and spread throughout the world. The town is built on an ancient river bed that was rich with gold. Acres and acres of waste tailings were used in building Oroville Dam.
GOLD RUSH COUNTIES:
MARIPOSA | TUOLUMNE | CALAVERAS | AMADOR | EL DORADO | PLACER | NEVADA | SIERRA
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