Friday, December 16, 2011

Coloma California & Sutter's Mill

The first time I visited Coloma, CA, was in 1989. I have been drawn to this place ever since that time as it has become a mental, emotional and spiritual touchstone for me. Something about what happened here draws my soul... it is not the karma of the place (which is bad) but rather the dynamism and lingering sense of historical hangover that permeates here in the context of the foundational changes to which events which transpired here acted as catalyst. In particular the original location of Sutter's Mill and it's tailrace where the initial discovery of gold was made by James Marshall which in turn touched off the California Gold Rush is located in this beautiful little valley. As a reminder that what happened here had profound and tragic implications for other people is the presence of Maidu Indian bedrock mortars inside the boundaries of Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. The following images were taken on a trip to this place in early April, 2001.
Coloma Valley
The South Fork American River looking down-river from the bridge mid-span.
The South Fork American River looking down-river from the bridge mid-span.
Sutter's Mill facsimile
Sitter's Mill facsimile replete with tailrace.  
Sutter's Mill facsimile showing lumber ramp.
Sutter's Mill facsimile opposite end view showing headrace.
Sutter's Mill facsimile replete with vertical and finished lumber.
That is me standing next to the monument marking the location of Sutter's Mill.
The channel in the foreground is the tailrace of Sutter's Mill where James Marshall discovered gold on January 24, 1848.
A white quartz outcropping rises from the waters of the river just downriver from the gold discovery site.

All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved)

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