The World Rushed In
James W. Marshall discovered gold in 1848 on the South Fork of the American River in the valley the Nisenan Indians knew as Cullumah. This event led to the greatest mass movement of people in the Western Hemisphere and was the spark that ignited the spectacular growth of the West during the ensuing decades. The gold discovery site, located in the still visible tailrace of Sutter’s sawmill, in present day Coloma California, is one of the most significant historic sites in the nation.
James W. Marshall foundÂ shining flecks of gold in the tailrace of the sawmill he was building for himself and John Sutter. This discovery in 1848 changed the course of California’s and the nation’sÂ history.Â Â See a replica of the original sawmill and over 20 historic buildings including mining, house, school, and store exhibits.
Visitors have the opportunity to try panning for gold in the American RiverÂ and enjoy hikes and picnics under the riparian oak woodlands.Â Â Â Overlooking the beautiful river canyon, where the gold discoverer rests today, see California’sÂ first historic monument, Â the statue of James MarshallÂ pointing at his gold discovery siteÂ .
Come participate in tours or special events, seeÂ exhibits and “Living History Days” planned regularly throughout the year; contact the Gold Discovery Museum and Visitor Center for details.Â Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is proud toÂ now offer the Eureka Experience school and group programs, and gold panning lessonsÂ for park visitors.