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Historical Buildings and Monuments in El Dorado County

In chronological order...

1848

SUTTER'S MILL, Coloma, California
Photograph and historical text from the book "Placerville" by Betty Conner, 1993

Coloma comes from "cull-oh-mah", which is the name the Miwok, Maidu, Nisenan and Washoe Indians called their valley. On January 24, 1848, James Marshall discovered flecks of gold in the tailrace of the sawmill that he and John Sutter owned. Sutter's Mill is located on the south fork of the American River in Coloma. This discovery started the Gold Rush. In 1848, the name "Dry Diggins" was given to the camp that is now Placerville. The miners had to cart the dry soil down to running water to wash out the gold.

1855

Emmanuel Church

The Emmanuel Church, also located in the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma, California, was built in 1855 by Episcopalians and Methodists. Rev. Charles Caleb Peirce was one of the first ministers. In 1921 this building became the property of the Methodists, who made extensive improvements in that year. Today, this church is an historical chapter of that time and is cared for by the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park Superintendent. The church is open to the public with docents greeting visitors dressed in the period costume of the gold rush era. Memorable weddings and special occasions can be held in these churches by contacting the Park at (530) 622-3069.

1856

ROUND TENT STORE, Placerville, California
Historical text from the book "Placerville" by Betty Conner, 1993

The Round Tent Store was originally a tent and was the oldest men's clothing store in California. In 1856, the tent was replaced by a building. In 1928, 17 feet was taken off the front to widen the street. It was a clothing store for almost 130 years and is now a fabric store.

PLACERVILLE NEWS BUILDING, Placerville, California
Photograph and historical text from the book "Placerville" by Betty Conner, 1993

The Placerville News Building was built in 1856 and was the Davis & Roy News Depot. The Placerville News Company, started by Christine Duffey, has been in the same location since 1912.

1857

TRACY BUILDING, Placerville, California
Historical text from the book "Placerville" by Betty Conner, 1993

The present Tracy Building was built in 1857 after a fire that leveled most of the town of Placerville. Henry N. Tracy made custom boots bought by Wells Fargo & Company employees, Pioneer Stageline employees and people from all over. Later, he began to sell shoes. After 97 years, the Tracy family closed the store. For 35 years, a law office occupied the building. In May of 1992, Bill and Pat Scheuner purchased the building and restored the interior wide plank flooring, high ceilings, transom windows and other historical features. Specialty foods and bakery treats are made on the premises.

Cary House c. 1900's

CARY HOUSE HOTEL, Placerville, California
Photograph and historical text from the book "Placerville" by Betty Conner, 1993

The Cary House was built in 1857 by William Cary. The Hotel was headquarters for the stagelines. According to some historians, the famous "Hangtown Fry" which consists of oysters and eggs was cooked here for a prospector. In 1908, the Hotel was purchased by the Raffetto family and, in 1926, it was changed to the Raffles Hotel.

Cary House c. 1993

In 1978, ownership passed to Doug and Peggy Milton who restored the Hotel to its original charm and changed the name back to the Cary House. The Miltons insisted on only the finest in materials and workmanship. The Victorian lobby has a gift shop, a beautiful mahogany staircase and four enormous, colorful stained glass windows that depict the four seasons in the Gold Country. Guestrooms at the Cary House are charming, cheerful and comfortable.

Saint John's Catholic Church

Saint John's Catholic Church, located in the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma, California, was built in 1858. Today, this church is an historical chapter of that time and is cared for by the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park Superintendent. The church is open to the public with docents greeting visitors dressed in the period costume of the gold rush era. Memorable weddings and special occasions can be held in these churches by contacting the Park at (530) 622-3069.

1865

Bell Tower

THE BELL TOWER, Placerville, California
The Bell, placed in the tower in the plaza in 1865, was used as an alarm system to call out the firefighters. The bell was cast in England and was used as a fire alarm. The present steel structure replaced a former wooden tower in 1898. The tower was used as a viewing stand for parade judges and a turn-around for stagecoaches.This tower has watched most of Placerville's history pass beneath it for well over 100 years. It has been remodeled, relocated, and most recently, renovated. Today it proudly stands as a monument to honor our city's volunteer firemen.

The history of the Bell Tower began back in 1856. Three fires that year in April, July and August, claimed most of Placerville's business section. The need for an alarm system to call the volunteer fire department was obvious, and a bell was ordered from England. Cast in 1860, the bell arrived in Placerville in 1865. The city gave it's approval to place the bell in a tower in the plaza. All this was done at a cost of $380.00. Today, the Bell Tower serves as a gathering place for parades, celebrations, historic re-enactments and other Historic Main Street events. Visit the Placerville Downtown Merchants website (PDA) for more information.

1923

El Dorado County Chamber Office

VETERAN'S BUILDING, or OLD AMERICAN LEGION BUILDING, built in by the citizens of El Dorado County, is one of the more attractive buildings on the upper end of Main Street. It served as a community center where meetings, dances and plays were held. It is covered with ivy today and remains a central location for business and chamber gatherings. The El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce now resides in this beautiful building. Visit their website!