Gold Bug Park
In California, United States
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The cache is just a short hop off Highway 50 in the heart of
Placerville, CA. The exit to the Gold Bug Park is well marked
off of Highway 50. Just look for the ore car at the Bedford Street
stoplight. Gold Bug Park and Mine is a designated State Point
of Historic Interest and is part of the National Register of
Historic Sites. The posted coordinates are for the parking
area of the park.
The intent of this cache is three-fold. One, you will learn
about a neighborhood mining area. Two, you will also learn
about local history as well as how important the gold rush was to
California State history and to the Nation's history. And
three, it is a fun trip to see a horizontal hard-rock gold mine and
the kids will love it!
Gold was first discover at Sutter's Mill, on January 24,
1848 by James W. Marshall. While working for John Sutter,
James Marshall found bits of shiny metal in the tailrace of the
lumber mill (there is a replica in the Gold Discovery Park in
Coloma, eight miles away) built on the South Fork of the American
River. Though the two men tried to keep the discovery
quiet, Sam Brannan, a San Francisco newsman and merchant was soon
shouting about "Gold! Gold! Gold from the American River!".
While Brannan later lost all his wealth, he did effectively
start the Gold Rush in Alta California, leading to mass
migration/immigration into the "Mother Lode" and California
becoming a State in 1850.
It wasn't long before the prospectors were panning in the stream
running through Gold Bug Park following the gold discovery in
Coloma on January 24, 1848, only eight miles away. Big Canyon Creek
was rich in gold for those early prospectors who could just pluck
the gold from the stream.
Several prospector huts lined Big Canyon Creek during the early
years of the Gold Rush. Every spring the streams and rivers
througout the Mother Lode produced a new crop of gold into the
river bottoms. It was coming from the quartz veins outcropping into
the streams and being washed away.
Once the panning operations were not turning up much gold, hard
rock mining came into being. In 1860 hard rock mining was
established throughout the area and small mining companies and
miners were digging their own drifts following the veins into the
sides of the hills.
In 1888, The Hattie Mine was opened by William Craddock and John
Dench. The Hattie, so named after Craddock's eldest daughter, was
first established across the canyon. However, it played out. The
larger vein structures were noted on the south side of the canyon
and a new drift was started. They followed the vein well back into
the mine before circumstances dictated a sale.
John McKay took over in 1926 and turned at an angle to search for a
more prominent vein structure. What you see today is the result of
his work. Tracks were laid for the ore cars to assist in the
removal of the ore. The ore was then taken outside and run through
a crusher to extract the gold.
The air shaft was probably established to provide clean air for the
workers to work in the mine. After a day's work it would take 24
hours for the air to exchange so the men could start to work again.
It is believed that no more than 2-3 men worked the mine at a
It is not known how much gold was removed! No records were kept.
During World War II the mines throughout the Mother Lode were
closed by order of the President as gold mining was considered a
non-essential industry and men were needed to go to war.
The last owner of the four mining claims of the park area was held
by William Meagher who owned the Independent Iron Works in Oakland,
CA. He spent many hours working the mines and the area to keep his
title on the property. His family always came with him and spent
time swimming behind the dam he created on Big Canyon Creek, and
hiking in the area while he worked. He built a summer cabin which
still exists today at the end of the road. The Gold Bug Park
Committee plans to turn the building into an nature center
describing the flora and fauna of the area.
Because the mining claims were no longer worked or expanded, the
Bureau of Land Management took over the land as public property. In
the early 1960's the federal government under the Recreational Use
Purposes Act leased properties to government entities for just that
- recreational use. In 1965 the City of Placerville received the
lease with the promise that the land would not be sold, divided or
used for any other purpose than recreation. Under a 25 year lease
agreement the City prepared to create a park.
In April 1980, Hangtown's Gold Bug Park Development Committee, Inc,
was formed to clean up, protect and defend the property for public
On February 1, 1985, the park was approved for listing in the
National Register of Historic Places and also as a State Point of
Interest on the California registry.
Gold Bug Park is now owned and operated by the City of Placerville.
The City of Placerville is the only municipality in the state of
California to own a gold mine. Today, you can step back in time to
the mid 1800's and experience what it was like to be a miner
in the gold rush era.
To claim this cache as a find, take a photograph (optional) of yourself at
the last spot and email me the answers to the following
A. 38.44.583/120.47.980 Gold Bug Park has 61 acres and is
part of what Mining District?
B. 38.44.572/120.47.984 When did most of the digging in this
C. 38.44.563/120.47.948 Why is this mine interesting
and who might be responsible?
D. 38.44.693/120.48.008 Consignments of a ____ ____ to
____ of _____ were usually processed here.
Park Services Hours:
April thru October 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM Daily
November thru March 12:00 noon to 4:00 PM Weekends Only
(These hours apply to Gold Bug Mine, the Hendy Stamp Mill, Hattie's Museum, and the Gift Shop.) Please stay on marked trails only and practice Cache In, Trash Out.
(No hints available.)
Last Updated: on 1/31/2017 9:20:25 AM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) (5:20 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum