During, May of 1848, a miner by the name of Claude Chana, was taking a short cut to meet his friend James Marshall
and discovered gold in the Auburn Ravine. The new discovery was on the North Fork of the American River less than 2 miles below the
branching of the Middle Fork of the American River and 45 miles west of Rubicon Springs. By April 1849, North Fork Dry Diggings had
become a well established mining camp about 11 miles northwest of Coloma and 12 west of Georgetown. The camp went by many names including
Rich Ravine and Wood's Dry Diggings of Auburn Ravine. In August of 1849, the camp was officially named Auburn and quickly became an
important mining camp because it was a relative easy wagon trip from Sacramento, centrally located in the gold country and just below
the snow line. Auburn became a shipping and supply center for hundreds of gold camps and in 1853, the government seat of Placer County.
However, it was on May 13, 1865, when the Central Pacific Railroad officially made Auburn a “stop” that it became a well-established
community. By the turn of the century the population of Auburn was more than 2,000. With rail and road transportation and it’s all
season location on the Donner Pass road, now known as US Interstate 80, Auburn was able to support the development of diverse industries
such as lumber, livestock, dairy, agriculture and tourism.
Gold Rush Towns and Rubicon Springs
Placerville, original known as Old Dry Diggings, then as Hangtown, was located in 1848 on the banks of Weber Creek. The
creek flows east to west, just 2 miles south of the South Fork of the American River before it joins the American River west of Coloma.
By the early 1850s Placerville became the largest city in the Eldorado County and was active as a mining supply center and a stopping
station on the main shipping and emigrants’ road over the Sierras. Throughout the 1850’s Placerville was the western terminus for
the Overland Trail and the route over Johnston Pass. The discovery of gold and silver in what would become Virginia City, Nevada,
in 1859, saw the beginning of a massive reverse migration over the Placerville-Carson Road now known as U.S. Highway 50.