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Sutter's Mill in 1850.
Modern reconstruction.

Sutter's Mill was a sawmill owned by 19th century pioneer John Sutter. It was located in Coloma, California, at the bank of the American River. Sutter's Mill is most famous for its association with the California Gold Rush. It was here that an employee/partner of Sutter's, James Marshall, on January 24, 1848, found several flakes of gold that would begin the transformation of California from a sleepy outpost to a bustling center of activity.[1] Originally, John Sutter and James Marshall tried to keep the gold secret, but eventually the word got out. During the next seven years, approximately 300,000 people came to California (half by land and half by sea) to seek their fortunes mining for gold or selling stuff like picks and shovels to the gold miners.

The first to document the discovery of the gold were Henry Bigler and Azariah Smith, in their respective diaries. They and several other people working at the mill were discharged veterans of the Mormon Battalion. After the discovery of Gold, the era called the "gold rush" began, and many people came from the east to migrate for some cash. People like Levi Strauss and Luzena Wilson became important.

The site of the mill is located on the South Fork of the American River. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is registered as California Historical Landmark #530. The current Sutter's Mill is a copy of the original building and looks much like it. It was built using Marshall's own drawings and an early day photo as reference for the recreation of the mill.

The mill was also the namesake and inspiration for a popular song by singer-songwriter Dan Fogelberg.



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External links

Coordinates: 38°48′00″N 120°53′48″W / 38.8°N 120.89667°W / 38.8; -120.89667



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