Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, Coloma

4.6
#90 of 850 in Museums in California
Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is a state park of California, United States, marking the discovery of gold by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in 1848, sparking the California Gold Rush. The park grounds include much of the historic town of Coloma, California, which is now considered a ghost town as well as a National Historic Landmark District. The park contains two California Historical Landmarks: a monument to commemorate James Marshall (#143) and the actual spot where he first discovered gold in 1848 (#530). Established in 1942, the park now comprises 576acre.
The entire route of California State Route 153 lies within the park, and allows visitors to drive to the top of the hill where the monument to James W. Marshall stands. The Gold Discovery Museum features gold-rush-era exhibits including mining equipment, horse-drawn vehicles, household implements and other memorabilia. The American River Nature Center, operated by the American River Conservancy, features murals of local wildlife, hands-on exhibits, animal mounts and live small animals.
In 1886 the members of the Native Sons of the Golden West, Placerville Parlor #9, felt that the Marshall deserved a monument to mark the grave of the "Discoverer of Gold". In May 1890, five years after Marshall's death, Placerville Parlor #9 successfully advocated the idea of a monument to the State Legislature, which appropriated a total of $9,000 for the construction of the monument and tomb, the first such monument erected in California. A statue of Marshall stands on top of the monument, pointing to the spot where he made his discovery in 1848. The monument was rededicated October 8, 2010 by the Native Sons of the Golden West, Georgetown Parlor #91, in honor of the 200th Anniversary of James W. Marshall's birth.
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Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
252 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Excellent historical background Information on the 1949 gold rush from exhibits to informational plaques. Rangers there to answer questions and act as tour guides. Minimal cost  more »
  • Especially if you're into history or the outdoors. There's a nearby museum, a haunted cemetery, and the shortest highway in the country. Just a beautiful area. Mind the rattlesnakes though ;)  more »
Google
  • Very nice place to learn about the California gold rush. Very kid friendly. The docents here were super friendly and knowledgeable. The museum is a little smaller than I would have expected but most of the stuff you'd want to see is outside anyway. They even have an area where you can pan for gold. This place is perfect for pre-teen children although I'm not sure that teenagers would be able to appreciate this place unless it's something they're already interested in.
  • This is a great State Park to explore that's far enough out of the way to feel like you're away from the city, but not too far where you can't make it an easy day trip. There is a small museum where you can learn a little about the gold rush, but the best part of this park is walking around and exploring all of the old buildings and trails. There is an $8 fee which you can pay at the museum or remotely at one of the multiple parking lots but the fee feels well worth it.

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