4 Best Places for California Gold Rush History

Tin Smith 2015

Kids hammer enthusiastically behind Stacey, the a volunteer at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park who taught them the historic craft of tin smithing.

California Gold Rush history can be experienced in 4 top-notch museums in Coloma and Placerville, California, right near Eden Vale Inn.

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park

California Gold Rush history is the center of Coloma, California, where James W. Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill. The Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park has a great museum, outdoor exhibits, gold panning lessons, tours, and living history days on the second Saturday of the month.

Sutter's Mill at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, Coloma CA

Sutter’s Mill at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, Coloma CA

Marshall Gold Discovery park is open every day. Tours and gold panning lessons are held several times a day. See Sutter’s Mill, Marshall’s Monument, and the blacksmith ship where volunteers make various iron items in front of your eyes.  On second Saturdays history comes alive! Volunteer docents in period dress show and talk about aspects of pioneer life, such as tin smithing, rope making, candle dipping, and old-fashioned log sawing. The activities are hands-on, and kids especially love doing these activities themselves.

Gold Bug Park and Hattie Museum

Gold Bug Mine collage

In Placerville, the Gold Bug Mine is a real mine that you can explore on self-led tours using headsets. You can also pan for gold there. The two-story Hattie Museum and Interpretive Center has gold rush history exhibits and a gift store. It’s all on 61 acres that have several easy walking trails and picnic areas, including a lovely spot by a stream. Make sure to see the Joshua Hendy Stamp Mill that recreates the large stamp mills used to crush ore. See the Gold Bug Park website for hours and admission.

El Dorado County Historical Society’s Fountain-Tallman Museum

Fountain-Tallman MuseumThe “biggest little museum in the West,” the Fountain-Tallman Museum is in the oldest building on Main Street Placerville CA, #524. This two-story building has exhibits of the California Gold Rush of 1848, through buttons and catalogs of 1895, to a telephone switchboard from 1926. Gold rush exhibits include the Miwok and Chinese workers, and the bible of Snowshow Thompson who brought the mail no matter what.

Open Wed – Sun 11am-4pm. See the website for more details.

El Dorado County Historical Museum

El Dorado County Historical Museum miniature moving mill

This miniature of a mining site has moving trains – just ask the docent to turn it on!

California Gold Rush history is alive on Placerville Drive. Outdoor exhibits include logging transportation and train equipment. The museum itself is connected to real train rides on a historic train in the area – see the website for times. Inside are exhibits and artifacts on the gold rush and later. The museum has a book store, and a research room if you think you might have had family living in the area.

Eden Vale Inn - Madrone RoomWe’re always happy to help our guests learn more about area attractions. See our winter specials at Eden Vale Inn – or feel free to call us at (530) 621-0901.

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The Red Chair Visits Eden Vale Inn, Placerville CA

Red Chair at Eden Vale Inn B&B Placerville CAThe Red Chair recently enjoyed the luxury and beauty of Eden Vale Inn, and nearby Coloma CA and Placerville CA. Red is touring superb bed and breakfasts from coast to coast. After a good night’s sleep, deep soak, and fantastic breakfast at Eden Vale Inn, it went looking for history and good times in Downtown Placerville.

Red Chair at Placerville Entryway 2

Ol’ Red was mighty glad it did not have a neck when it visited “Old Hangtown.” But, the weather being fine, it decided to be brave and see what there was to learn about the California Gold Rush on Historic Main Street, Placerville, CA.

Red Chair at ElDoCo Courthouse
Red Chair was relieved to see that there is in fact justice in Placerville, El Dorado County, California. It took a rest on the courthouse stairs, soaking up the sun.

Red Chair at Placerville Hist Museum The Red Chair loved the fascinating exhibits at the Placerville Historical Museum, in Main Street’s oldest building.

Inside, Red saw what might have been its great-great cousin: a historic cobbler’s chair.
Red Chair at Dedrick's Cheese Placerville and DaisyAfter all that history, Red Chair was ready for a snack. Dedrick’s Cheese, locally owned and featuring locally made cheeses, breads, and sweets, was a wonderful place to get some picnic supplies. Red spent some time gossiping with Daisy the Cow who sees everything that goes on in Placerville.

Red Chair at Mill View Ranch Apple Hill 2

Red Chair headed uphill, east toward the famed Apple Hill region. It saw beautiful rolling hills, vineyards, and tree-lined roads. A breath of fresh air. Mill View Ranch sold it the tallest apple pie it ever had seen, and fresh apple cider. A table in the shade made the picnic perfect.

Red Chair at David Girard Vineyards a little tipsy

Heading back toward Eden Vale Inn, Red Chair stopped by David Girard Vineyards for some wine tasting. It picked up a couple of bottles for the chairs back home. Delicious! There was one more adventure on the way back toward Eden Vale Inn.

Red Chair at Marshall Monument Coloma CARed Chair got up close and personal with Marshall’s Monument, at the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, in Coloma, CA. This was the site of the gold discovery that spurred the California Gold Rush.

Red Chair at Marshall Monument - closeupSatisfied with a day filled with beauty and history, and full of wonderful food and drink, Red Chair had another fantastic night at Eden Vale Inn. Tomorrow, its adventures continue at B&Bs across the land.

All of Red Chair’s travels can be seen at ww.redchairtravels.com. Rooms at Eden Vale Inn can be seen here. We’d love to have you come visit, too.

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Ghost and Wine Tours of Placerville, Coloma, and More!

Eden Vale Inn B&B partners with Gold Rush Tales Ghost and Wine ToursLinda Bottjer, founder of Gold Rush Tales, has put her passion for history, tours, and wine to good use! She and her team lead tours in  Placerville, Coloma, Apple Hill, and other parts of El Dorado County and the Sierra Foothills. Whether your interest is history, food, wine, horse rides, or combinations of those, they have something for you. They even offer “Bark and Boo” tours where you can bring your dogs! Eden Vale Inn is dog-friendly, so we love that one!

Gold Rush Tales’ specialty is a fabulous ghost tour of historic Placerville, once know as “Hangtown.” The tour guides fill the one-hour easy stroll down Main Street with funny, entertaining, and well researched historical stories of the town… and spine-tingling stories of people who didn’t survive the Gold Rush but have been seen and felt ever since.

Placerville Hangtown Ghost Tours, California - gold rush minersWhy Placerville? Almost 30 people were strung up in Hangtown over almost 40 years, until in 1883 the State of California ordered them to stop. There were even “gallows kits” that were popular at the time. “1850 was a big year for deaths,” explained Linda, and some of the ghosts still populate the town. Learn about miners and criminals who linger, the little girl Catherine who has also stayed around, some odd spirits over Hangtown Creek, or perhaps see Great Aunt Blanche! Some nights, say tour-goers, there is a great deal of “orb” and other energetic activity. Your tour ends with your photo and follow-up email showing you if any activity was captured with your image. Spooky!

Placerville Soda Works, California 594 Main StreetWhile the ghost stories give a pleasurable tingle, the tour has a positive feel. Overall, “we’re here to celebrate the history of the area, and the ingenuity of the people who survived,” explained Linda. Their tours are a great way to learn about the town, too. For instance, the tour starts (or ends, depending on the schedule) at 594 Main Street. This is the Soda Works building – where, yes, water from a local springs was served with fruit juice. Who knew? You’ll also learn history of the County Museum, Court House, the oldest hardware store west of the Mississippi, and spirits near them all. Placerville is loaded with quirky, funny and some scary entities, and the “Ghost Tours of Placerville” is held year-round.

If it’s wine you want, go on a “Grapes and Graves” tour in Placerville or Coloma. Wanna be ghost-free? Gold Rush Tales also lead groups to Apple Hill, and can design a custom outing for you anywhere in Northern California’s Gold Country.

Eden Vale Inn has partnered with Gold Rush Tours. Contact us to learn more about our packages. You can soak away your ghost-given goosebumps in our wonderful Japanese soaking tubs, and tell us your stories over our delicious breakfast. Enjoy!Eden Vale Inn B&B soaking tub

History Eden Vale Inn B&B Placerville

Gold Bug Mine

Come………take a step back in time when you visit the historic Gold Bug Mine. Being a CITY park, we are OPEN now for the WINTER season! Weekends, noon to 4 PM.

Listen to a California Gold Rush miner tell about the tools he used to get at that elusive yellow metal – GOLD!

As you enter the 352′ drift of this historic hard rock mine, you will feel the cool air brush against your face.

Bring a picnic lunch. Take a relaxing hike. Check out the gold rush museum and tour the Hendy Stamp Mill. Visit Hattie’s Gift shop for snacks and souvenirs.

Gold Bug Park promises to be a wonderful experience for you and your family.

www.goldbugmine.org