16 photos
Coloma, California

Settled along the banks of the South Fork River between Sutter's Mill and Mormon Island is Coloma, California -- the first important mining town of the 1848 gold rush days. It was here, on the South Fork River, that James Marshall first found the gold that started the great California Gold Rush. News spread quickly and by the time it reached San Francisco, thousands began to flood the area.

James Marshall was a construction foreman for Johann (John) Augustus Sutter, who operated Sutter's Mill on the banks of the American River. Sutter had come to California from his native Switzerland in 1834. By 1839, he had settled in the heart of the Sacramento Valley, where he wanted to establish a "great colony.”

Coloma, CA - Building Ruins

Coloma, CA - Building Ruins

Coloma, CA - Chinese Store

Coloma, CA - Chinese Store

Coloma, CA - Gold Trail Grange

Coloma, CA - Gold Trail Grange

Coloma, CA - Hillside

Coloma, CA - Hillside

Coloma, CA - James Marshall at Sutter's Mill

Coloma, CA - James Marshall at Sutter's Mill

Coloma, CA - Log Cabin

Coloma, CA - Log Cabin

Coloma, CA - Main Street

Coloma, CA - Main Street

Coloma, CA - Mormon Cabin

Coloma, CA - Mormon Cabin

Coloma, CA - Mormon Cabin Interior

Coloma, CA - Mormon Cabin Interior

Coloma, CA - Post Office

Coloma, CA - Post Office

Coloma, CA - South Fork of the American River

Coloma, CA - South Fork of the American River

Coloma, CA - Sutter's Mill Historic Drawing

Coloma, CA - Sutter's Mill Historic Drawing

Coloma, CA - Sutter's Mill

Coloma, CA - Sutter's Mill

Coloma, CA - Barn

Coloma, CA - Barn

Coloma, CA - St. John's Catholic Church

Coloma, CA - St. John's Catholic Church

John Sutter

John Sutter