We recently visited Hornitos, a small gold rush era town located on county road J-16 in Mariposa County, Hornitos has largely been bypassed by the modern world. There are no gas stations, fast food outlets, or shopping centers.
Can you imagine doing this twice a month during the winter? Travel 90 miles from Placerville, California to Genoa, Nevada; crossing the Sierra Nevada mountains carrying a bag between 50 to 100 pounds in weight strapped to your back.
In the southern part of the Mother Lode region lies Bear Valley, a once busy mining town 12 miles northwest of Mariposa on Highway 49. It was headquarters for John C. Fremont's gold mining empire in the mid-1850s. At its peak, approximately 3000 people lived here.
Built in 1860, the Red Castle is Nevada City’s earliest surviving brick home. The four story Gothic Revival mansion, located on Prospect Hill, overlooks Nevada City. A near ruin in the mid-twentieth century, it was restored in 1963.
The California gold rush was an international event attracting gold seekers from around the world. The first large wave of Chinese immigrants to the United States came during the gold rush. Many towns had a “Chinatown,” a section where the Chinese lived and had their businesses.
This historic stone corral, located a few miles southwest of Jamestown, is probably familiar to those who’ve traveled Highway 108 between Oakdale and Sonora. We’ve traveled past this corral many times on photo trips to the central Mother Lode region.
When the topic of California's hard rock gold mining comes up, most people think of the large mines, such as the Empire Mine in Grass Valley, or the Argonaut and Kennedy Mines in Jackson. Actually, there were many small, independently owned, hard rock gold mines.