From Timber to GOLD

Real Estate Agent with GreatWest Realty DRE# 00827565

Let's imagine for a second that you have a vantage point from space so you can gaze back at Earth.  And pretend you have a GPS system in your hands as you punch in coordinates, 38N 48' 00", 120W 53' 00."  While you are being transported to the designated location, clock numbers are moving backward in time.

When the journey ends, you find yourself standing in a remote area of the South Fork of American River in a valley which the Southern Maidu Indian people know as "Cullumah," 

The date is January 24th 1848 and your name is James W. Marshall.  You have just noticed several flakes of metal in the tailrace water of a sawmill that you have been building, AND you know the metal is GOLD.

What you don't yet know, is your discovery will act as catalyst to the greatest mass movement of people in the Western Hemisphere, and begin the growth of the West.   "Cullumah" in the future will become known as "Coloma" - and your event will be logged in history as "The California Gold Discovery and Gold Rush."

Coloma Gold Discovery State Park

In the year 2011, Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, sits approximately 40 miles or so from Sacramento.  A number of historical buildings are within the park, as well as the Marshall Sawmill pictured in the slideshow above.  The Sawmill was a joint venture for the interests of James Marshall and John Sutter (Sutter's Fort).  Sutter had obtained land grants which required lumber for building in Sacramento - downriver from Coloma.  There were many tall pine trees to be milled in the vicinity of Coloma.

The life of James Marshall presented many facets in the coming years after his gold discovery at Coloma.  He never "struck it rich."  In the following year (1849), aggressive Oregon gold-miners entered into an ugly dispute with the native Indian Nisenan.  The Indians were murdered, and Marshall had to flee for his life.  After a number of years, he returned to Coloma, where in lived in a hillside cabin, raised grapes and made a little wine, but lived in poverty.  He died in nearby Kelsey in 1885.

The area has easy parking, and delightfully shaded picnic grounds, which make for a perfect family outing. 

For more information and history you can access: "California Parks Marshall Gold Discovery Brochure."


Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Lisa Wetzel 07/08/2011 04:04 AM
ActiveRain Community
California Sacramento County Sacramento
The Lounge at Active Rain
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myrl jeffcoat
coloma gold discovery site
james marshall

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Juli Vosmik
Dominion Fine Properties - Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale/Cave Creek, AZ real estate 480-710-0739

Myrl - how very interesting!!!  What was the all stone building?  Was that the jail?  I could see the sign.  Thanks for the great slide show and the information - very interesting.

Jul 08, 2011 03:47 AM #1
Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Agent

Myrl~  A picnic in the park with some history on the side.  Sounds like a lovely afternoon to me.  Can I order a gentle breeze blowing also?  Have a great weekend!

Jul 08, 2011 03:51 AM #2
Than Maynard
Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma - Purcell, OK
Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862

Neat story and very well told.

Someone is going to have to direct me to where I can learn how to create the slideshow effect. Had no idea you could do that.

Jul 08, 2011 04:02 AM #3
Lisa Wetzel
RE/MAX Realty Affiliates - Carson City, NV

Myrl, we have visited that park and the other well know California historic sites connected with your golden history.  Quite a fun thing to do with a bunch of kids and grand kids!  From where we are it can easily be a day trip but is much funner to spend the night , take in Old Town Sacraments, and go to the Spaghetti Factory! 

Thanks for the wonderful post!

Jul 08, 2011 04:04 AM #4
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Juli - Yes it was the jail.  While many other buildings have been restored, the old stone building has been pretty much left in present state.

Donna - There actually was a gentle breeze, but it was still a tad too hot for my liking.  Today would have been better.  We are in a cooling trend:-)

Than - I'm glad you like the slide show.  I created a tutorial on how I do them using PaintShop Pro.  The tutorial can be accessed via:

Lisa - There are so many wonderful spots in California Gold Country, it is nearly impossible to pick just one.  I found it ironic that I had photoblogged so many of these towns and places, but had neglected Coloma, where it had all began.  I took 3 of my granddaughters up there yesterday for a little discovery and a picnic.

Jul 08, 2011 04:39 AM #5
Judi Boad

Hi Myrl~ What a beautiful depiction of the gold rush! The trip back in time was interesting and exciting! I am going to view your instructions on the perpetual slide show too!

Thank you!

Jul 08, 2011 05:30 AM #6
Kristine Ginsberg
Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC - Short Hills, NJ
NJ Home Stager

Myrl - what an interesting story on how James Marshall discovered gold right underneath his feat - a real shame he didn't get rich though! Love the history on the park and what great pictures to illustrate what is was like back in 1848!

Jul 08, 2011 05:44 AM #7
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Judi - The program used for the slideshows is PaintShop Pro.  I utilize their Animation Wizard. 

Kristine - They tell us more gold is still in California waiting to be discovered, than was ever taken out.  But the lives of those that have tried taking it has been where the real treasure is.

Jul 08, 2011 08:05 AM #8
Emelyn Morris-Sayre
The Berkshire Group - Lakewood, CO
CRS, REALTOR, Lakewood/Denver 303-517-5116

As always, your storytelling is wonderful and your photos terrific!

Jul 08, 2011 08:51 AM #9
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate


If only California could recreate the Gold Rush days...lots of problems would be solved.


Jul 08, 2011 02:31 PM #10
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Emelyn - Thank you for your kind comments!

Richard - Your comment made me laugh out loud.  Not because it's outrageous, but because it is true.  At first you think about the raucous wild wild west, which meant the fastest gun was justice.  But in comparison to today's street gangs, they were tame. . .LOL  When I looked at the size of some of those Coloma cabins, I realized it didn't take a whole lot to keep a family happy.  Times in many ways were much simpler.  The only public buildings in addition to merchantile and the blacksmith, were an equal number of bars to churches:-)

Jul 08, 2011 02:41 PM #11
An Idabel OK Broker ~ Judi K Barrett
Judi Barrett~Integrity Real Estate Services~Idabel, Oklahoma - Idabel, OK
BA, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

I think Rich has it!  That has to be the comment of the day that I've read.  :)  Nice post on the park, Myrl.  I would love to visit it.

Jul 08, 2011 02:43 PM #12
William Johnson
RE/MAX Associates - La Jolla, CA
San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE

Hi Myrl, Maybe it is the pioneer in me but somehow there is this feeling that one day, the largest gold find in America will be right here in CA, once again.

While the recent discovery of treasure in India reveals no less than 20 billion dollars in valuable artifacts, I think CA will once again strike it rich in gold. 


Jul 08, 2011 07:32 PM #13
Karen Kruschka
RE/MAX Executives - Woodbridge, VA
- "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"

Myrl  Your story spinning ability matches you photographic skill - beautifully done

Jul 09, 2011 04:58 AM #14
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Judi - I liked Richard's comment too.  There are news stories about criminals grabbing gold jewelry from the necks of folks just out walking around.  That's not the kind of second Gold Rush we need to help with our problems. 

William - I think it will too!  There is one thing that California has which is considered treasure.  The commodity is INNOVATION.  If we can just tap into that once again, and feed it some good vitamins we might get this bird to fly again!

Karen - Thank you for your nice words, Kind Lady!

Jul 09, 2011 02:41 PM #15
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Myrl Jeffcoat

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