Gold Discovery Day at Marshall State Park January 26

The 160th anniversary of James Marshall’s momentous discovery of gold in the tailrace of Sutter’s Mill will be celebrated on January 26, 2008, from 10 am to 4 pm at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, Hiway 49, in Coloma.

In 1847, John Sutter asked James Marshall to build a sawmill along the banks of the American River. Sutter needed lumber for his expanding agricultural enterprises in the Sacramento Valley and Marshall, a carpenter, was looking for a job. Marshall and Sutter chose Coloma as the site for the sawmill because of the rushing river for power and a forest of pines for lumber. As the sawmill neared completion in January 1848, James Marshall contemplated its efficiency and made adjustments. Checking his project on the morning of January 24, 1848, James Marshall reached into shallow water at the side of the tailrace. He scooped up a handful of sand, gravel, mud… and a few flakes of golden metal. “Hey boys,” he lifted his voice to workmen around him, “by God, I believe I’ve found a gold mine.” It was a moment that was to change the course of history.

Gold Discovery Day will feature a gold discovery reenactment on the banks of the American River. Other activities include mill carpenter demonstrations, a Miwok Village, free wagon rides to Marshall’s Cabin, gold panning, and Gold Rush period music and entertainment. Gold Rush authors introduce their writings and sign publications at the museum store. The public is invited to all these activities, free of charge. There is a $7 per car parking fee at the State Park.

California State Parks and Gold Discovery Park Association — a nonprofit organization dedicated to the interpretation and conservation of Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park — sponsor Gold Discovery Day. Park volunteers and docents in period dress bring the event to life. For more information call 530.622.3470 or click here.

by Sarah Canfield