Northern California November 14, 2016
The Oldest Town In Northern California That Everyone Should Visit At Least Once
When gold was discovered in 1849, thousands of 49ers flocked to Northern California. San Francisco and Sacramento, 2 of the 3 major population centers during the gold rush, are now large cities. The third, however, has retained its small town charm and slower pace of life. It’s changed its name over the years, but the small community of Placerville is full of rich history and has been a great place to visit since its incorporation in 1854.
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One of the most popular sights in Northern California is the bell tower in Placerville.
The Bell was ordered from England and arrived in Placerville in 1865. A wooden structure stood here until 1898 when a steel tower was built.
This interesting town was once the western terminus of the Pony Express.
There were many famous figures who spent time here, including Snowshoe Thompson, Levi Strauss and John Studebaker.
There are plenty of historic buildings to check out, including this one where you can sip your latte in a gold mine.
Now the site of the earthy Cozmic Cafe, the John Pearson Soda Works building is probably one of the most interesting structures in the West. The Scottish immigrant built this ice house in 1859 in front of an idle mine shaft so he could use the underground rooms and tunnels to store ice at controlled temperatures.
The downtown is colorful and walkable.
Stop in to one or more of the charming shops. One of the most fun is an eclectic antique store with an impressive collection of Hawaiian shirts, fashion boutiques, country western stores, outdoor gear, and more.
Stop by the local museum to learn everything you ever wanted to know!
Known as the "Biggest Little Museum in the West," the Fountain & Tallman Museum covers gold rush history and so much more. Here you can learn about local geology, the Maidu and Miwok Native Americans who lived here long before white men, Chinese immigrants who came to this area in the 1800s, and more.
The Cobellack Blair house is just one of the many beautiful historic homes close to the center of town.
The house was built in 1895 and was a bed and breakfast for many years. It is now a private residence once again.
Originally referred to as Dry Diggins thanks to the hard soil miners had to work with, Placerville was also known as Hangtown.
Placerville law is now carried out at the courthouse, an iconic landmark downtown. Placerville is now the county seat in El Dorado.
While the town is proud of its unique history, the name was changed to Placerville in 1954 when it was incorporated.
The name Hangtown became popular starting in 1849 when this spot became known for the numerous hangings that we carried out here.
The historic spot where these hangings took place is the Hangman's Tree. Even though a building now stands here, a dummy hangs from a noose, ensuring that no one can miss the spot.
A few years ago, the dummy was removed. It was eventually restored to this spot.
There are plenty recreation opportunities in Old Hangtown, including gold mine tours.
Gold Bug Park is located just about 5 minutes from downtown Placerville. You can go on a self guided tour here through the old mines.
Other fun and interesting things to do include going to the race track located at the El Dorado Fair Grounds.
The Placerville Speedway has been a premier venue since 1965.
Visitors are also drawn to the nearby South Fork of the American River, an amazing place for outdoor recreation opportunities.
Adrenaline junkies raft down this Class III stretch of the river. Aside from learning to pan for gold like the 49ers, you can also fish and hike along the river. There's also a burgeoning wine scene in the areas surrounding the town.
Whether you call it Placerville or Old Hangtown, it's an easy place to fall in love with.
Friendly folks and a cute downtown make this unforgettable community an amazing place to visit. Locals who've spent their whole lives here will definitely agree!
Visit Placerville and you’ll fall in love with the colorful and rich history, friendly community members, and entertaining stories. What’s your favorite part of one of the oldest communities in the gold country?