Monday, November 16, 2015

Six Things I Didn't Know about Chinese Camp (and nearby parts of Gold Country)

Even though I've wanted to see the town of Chinese Camp (population 126 in 2010), for at least fifteen years, I hadn't noticed that we'd be passing through it this week. But when we saw the historical marker there, we stopped for a picture and ended up driving off the highway a block or two to see what we could see through the morning rain.

1. It's just off California Highway 49 -- Gold Country Highway, among other nicknames -- which winds 326 miles along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains from Oakhurst in the south past Downieville in the north. The road can be tricky, what with weather, elevation changes, switchbacks and unexpected obstructions north of Coulterville.

2. Historical markers (of one kind and another)
sometimes add to the mystery. For example, why is there a marker about a stage coach driver on this building?

3. During the gold rush era, over 5,000 Chinese lived here. 

4. Even though civilization came rather slowly to the area, literature is also part of the history of Gold Country.

5. There's a church in Chinese Camp that was used in High Noon (though services haven't been held there since the 1920s). We didn't see it in our brief detour. 

6. Amazing things hide just off the main road.

-- Mindy