sierra NevadaIt was the obstacle that the California-bound pioneers feared the most: crossing the formidable Sierra Nevada. Stretching from just below Lassen Peak in the north to Tehachapi Pass in the south, the Sierra is a single mountain range

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steamboat Before the California gold discovery, steam engines propelled riverboats over inland waterways, but ocean-going vessels were ships under sail. Yet when the siren call of gold beckoned, speed was the prime consideration—and very quickly

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gold nugget

Auburn was one of the earliest mining camps in California. Gold was discovered there May 16, 1848 by French native Claude Chana, a barrel-maker in the sometime employ of John Sutter. First known as North Fork Dry

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california relief map

California was admitted to the Union as the 31st state on September 9, 1850. That year 27 original counties were created—but since then boundaries have been redrawn to form new ones, bringing the

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Placerville 024

It is still called Bullion Bend, that stretch of curving old stage road from Placerville to Carson Valley that was bypassed during construction of modern Highway 50. There, in 1864, two Pioneer Line stagecoaches were

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