Placerville is a charming California gold rush town named after the placer gold deposits found in its river beds and hills in the late 1840s. Its treasured heritage is reflected in the historical, nineteenth-century architecture of its downtown core. An important historic landmark that still remains on Main Street is the Bell Tower, standing as a monument to the city’s volunteer firemen. Today, the Bell Tower serves as a gathering place for parades, celebrations, and other Historic Main Street events. In addition, Placerville is the County seat and the center of financial, commercial, civic, and Government activity.
The origins of the historic township of El Dorado date back before the 1850s when it was identified as Mud Springs, a watering hole for livestock along the road which connected Sacramento to Hangtown (Placerville). It is said the watering of stock turned the springs into an area of muck and mud, which explains the derivation of the name. When emigrant gold seekers pitched tents around the springs, the 1850 census lists the names of 462 inhabitants. The Post Office was established in 1851.
Main Street in Georgetown looks much as it did long ago with its wide streets and historic buildings. A young man named Hudson is credited with discovering the rich diggings in Georgetown in the summer of 1849. It is said that Hudson dug out more than $20,000 in gold within a six-week period. Soon after, a company of sailors led by George Phipps began working the stream at a spot below the present townsite, where they uncovered rich placers and took out a fortune in gold.
The Pollock Pines area has a rich history that began when westward immigration brought gold seekers into this part of California via the Mormon Immigrant Trail. This colorful and unhurried route begins south of Pollock Pines and is one gateway to vast areas of the Eldorado National Forest. The Desolation Wilderness is accessed from Highway 50 east of Pollock Pines and is one of the most heavily used wilderness areas in the United States. History also raced through this part of the county when young men on fast horses delivered the mail and news between St. Louis and San Francisco on the Pony Express.
Cool is the northern gateway to El Dorado County, located at the crossroads of Historic Hwy 49 and Hwy 193. Once an important way station during the Gold Rush, today Cool offers residents and visitors alike the opportunity to enjoy a peaceful rural residential environment, including small restaurants, a brewery, and shops. This is also a popular entrance to Auburn State Recreation area with more than 100 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails.
It was here on January 24, 1848, that James Marshall first discovered gold, an event occurred in Coloma that would radically impact the history of California and the Nation. The Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is open year-round and features a replica of the original sawmill where gold was first found, a museum, guided walking tours, gold panning, and blacksmith. Situated along the South Fork of the American River, Coloma is known for its outdoor adventure. Visitors and residents enjoy year-round hiking, mountain biking, fishing, camping, wine tasting, whitewater rafting, and kayaking.