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Gold Fever! The Lure and Legacy of the California Gold Rush

Art of the Gold Rush: Painters and Prospectors

Silver & Gold: Cased Images of the Gold Rush

Natives & Immigrants

The Town of the Volcano 1870s

This panoramic photograph was taken in the 1870s. Use the shift key on your computer to zoom back through time and walk the streets of this gold-rush town. This area was the site of placer, hydraulic and hard-rock mining. Compare this with the modern panorama shot in 1997 from nearly the same spot. -- Courtesy of Volcano Community Services District and Amador County Archives.

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  1. The large building in the middle of the photo is the hotel, a building you can still visit today. Notice how barren the hillsides are, all the trees were cut down for houses, fuel, sluices and mine timbers.
  2. A tree-shaded stream was home to spawning salmon when the first miners found gold here. They dug up the stream bed and flood plane looking for the easy pickin's, then the hydraulikers washed down upstream gravels that buried this stream bed. Then the stream flow was diverted into the elevated sluice boxes you see here, which transport water to the mines and sort the gold from the ore. The sluice boxes held puddles of mercury, used to trap the gold. But the leaking mercury was toxic to miners and wildlife alike.

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