Historical Sites in Placerville, CA

Historical Sites in Placerville, CA

Gold Bug Park & Mine

Visit the historical mining site that contributed to Placerville’s success during the California Gold Rush. Guided tours are available at Priest Mine and you can choose to tour with a guide or go at your own pace and explore with an audio tour at the Gold Bug Mine. The park also has a working blacksmith shop and the historical Joshua Hendy Stamp Mill, with other activities including gem panning, a museum and hiking trails.

Fountain & Tallman Museum

The museum is housed in a former soda factory that was established in 1852. The museum has two floors full of exhibits that showcase Placerville and the greater El Dorado County’s history. The first floor has artifacts from Placerville’s mining history, various igneous rocks that contributed to the wealth of the area. Placerville was additionally a quartz mining site. The first floor also has exhibits of the Maidu and Miwok Native American tribes that lived in the area before and after the gold rush. Additionally, there is memorabilia of the soda factory among other exhibits. The second floor features furniture from historical families and artifacts from the man known as Snowshoe Thompson. He carried mail from Placerville to Genoa, Nevada from 1856-1876, when it was the only connection from California to western Nevada. Placerville was a stop on the Pony Express Trail.

Hangman’s Tree

Placerville itself was known for public hangings carried out by local vigilantes, giving it a reputation that led to it being known as Hangtown beginning in 1849 before it was officially established as Placerville in 1854. It was also formerly known as Old Dry Higgins, which was a mining camp established in 1848. The stump of the notorious Hangman’s Tree is on display in the basement of The Hangman’s Tree Tavern which is located on Historic Main Street in Placerville.

Historic Main Street

Placerville’s Historic Main Street features a stretch of 19th-century style building that features lots of shops and restaurants that run out of historic buildings. Walking along the street, you will feel as if you traveled back in time to the height of the gold rush. The Cozmic Café and Pub is run out of what used to be the Placerville Soda Works building and still features the original sign. Known by the locals as “The Cozmic”, customers can enjoy a meal while admiring the old stone and brick building. Other historical sites are now the destination for popular festivals such as the Placerville Bell Tower Brewfest.

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