California Gold Rush Day

California Gold Rush Day

Weekend nearest January 24
The anniversary of James W. Marshall's discovery of gold in 1848 while overseeing the construction of a sawmill near Coloma, Calif., is commemorated with an annual celebration at the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park on the weekend nearest January 24. An employee of John A. Sutter, a wealthy landowner and entrepreneur, Marshall noticed flakes of gold in the streambed as he was inspecting work on the mill. Although Sutter and Marshall tried to keep the discovery secret, over the next year approximately 60,000 to 100,000 gold prospectors flocked to California. The surface deposits of gold eventually dwindled, but both Sutter and Marshall had already been ruined by the gold rush they tried to forestall. Sutter died bankrupt in 1888, and Marshall died five years later, living alone in a crude cabin just a short distance from where he'd first noticed the gleam of metal.
Marshall's cabin is now part of the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, and Sutter's adobe home is part of a museum and park in Sacramento.
CONTACTS:
Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park
310 Back St.
P.O. Box 265
Coloma, CA 95613
530-622-3470
www.parks.ca.gov
SOURCES:
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 83
AnnivHol-2000, p. 14
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
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