Gold Districts of California
THE MINES TODAY
California's gold-mining history is a brilliant lure, and many books, pamphlets,
periodicals and articles have been published on the subject. The old mining districts and
settlements, including "ghost" towns, are visited by increasing numbers of
tourists each year. In a few districts the old camps have been reconstructed. Several old
gold mining towns, such as Columbia, Johnsville, Coloma, Shasta, and Bodie, are California
state parks or recreation areas. In recent years more people have become aware of the
importance of California's gold rush in the history and development of the western United
States, and steps have been made to preserve historical structures and equipment closely
associated with gold mining.
Unfortunately, little visible evidence remains of many of California's important
gold-quartz mines other than caved shafts and tunnels and heavily overgrown dumps. The
surface plants of the large underground lode mines at Grass Valley and along the Mother
Lode belt, which for years accounted for a major part of California's gold output, have
been almost completely dismantled. More evidence remains of the large-scale placer-mining
operations. The old hydraulic mine pits and the extensive tailing piles in the dredging
fields still exist; some are used as commercial sources of sand and gravel. A number of
the old ditches, flumes, and reservoirs that once supplied water to the hydraulic mines
now are parts of hydroelectric and irrigation systems.
Edited from: Gold Districts of California, by: W.B. Clark, California
Department of Conservation, Division of Mines and Geology, Bulletin 193, 1970.
Return to Gold Districts of California