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El Dorado County California

El Dorado County. Organized 1850. Bounded north by Placer, east by the State of Nevada and Alpine County, south by Amador, and west by Sacramento and Placer. Area, 1,872 square miles. Assessed valuation of property for 1874, $2,494,622.

County seat, Placerville. Principal towns, Coloma, Diamond Springs, El Dorado, Georgetown, Greenwood, Grizzly Flat, and Shingle Springs. The topographical features are mountainous, the county occupying a section of the western slope of the Sierra Nevada from the summit to the foot hills, embracing rugged peaks, in whose glens rest the perpetual snows or winter, bordered by the broad forest belt, where gigantic pines and cedars, as monuments of time, clothe in dark evergreen the mountain side down to the region where wide spreading oaks, over gently rolling hills give an orchard-like appearance to a lasting summer scene. Lofty mountains and lovely lakes, deep canons and swift flowing rivers, pleasant valleys and somber forests diversify the scenery.

Lake Bigler, one of the most beautiful sheets of water in the world, at an elevation of 6,00 feet, like a sparkling jewel set in an emerald of forest, crowns the mountain top, and innumerable lesser lakes are like gems on the border. These smaller lakes give source to the many branches of the American River, which, with the Cosumnes, constitute the fluvial system of the county.

At Coloma, in January, 1843, gold was discovered and from here the news spread over the globe and brought the rush that revolutionized California and the world. El Dorado, then leading in population and in the production of gold, obtained the sobriquet of "The Empire County," and still she may retain the position as the representative county of the mining region. While she has been distinguished and regarded only for her mineral wealth, her resources are extensive and varied. Vast ridges of auriferous drift are deposited throughout the mountains, and veins of gold-bearing quartz seam the slope.

The forests are unsurpassed in any country, and a soil, which under irrigation is fitted for any tillage, covers marbles, and granites, and beds of iron-stone, valuable in building and other uses. But with all her native wealth, her advance in population and prosperity is slow. The early rush of miners sought only the surface placers, from which they rapidly exhausted the gold and fled. The Washoe travel for a period gave the appearance of life, while it drained the population. Then horticulture seemed the only reliance, and fruit of every variety was grown in great abundance and unsurpassed in quality. At last a new era promises. Great enterprises are going forward to develop the chief resources, and which will place the county on a firm foundation for perpetual prosperity. The towering mountains preserve in snow-covered peaks and rock-bound lakes the fall of winter storms, and here by simple engineering water could be gathered from them to, carry on all operations below in agriculture, mining and manufacture. The most noted enterprises for these purposes are the El Dorado Deep Gravel Company, the Mount Gregory Water and Mining Co., and the California Water Company, which are constructing large canals and opening extensive hydraulic mines. The first is constructing a canal of twelve feet in width on top by four in depth to carry water from the South Fork of the American River to the mines in the vicinity of Placerville.

The Mount Gregory Company comprises a lumber, water and mining enterprise, and brings water from Pilot Creek and the Rubicon, (the latter one of the principal forks of the American), to the mines of Mount Gregory and Volcanoville, and the California Water Company from the headwaters of Pilot Creek supplies the mines of the Georgetown divide. From the sparkling waters of the Rubicon it is expected to supply the cities of Sacramento, Vallejo, Oakland and San Francisco, by means of about 160 mile; of iron pipe, giving them the best water supply of any of the large cities in the world.

Communication is maintained by many lines of stages, and the Placerville and Sacramento Valley Railroad enters the county from the west, reaching as far as Shingle Springs, having twenty-one miles of track in the county. Formerly, here was the great thoroughfare of immigration and travel across the Sierra Nevada, and several fine turnpikes were constructed; but the completion of the Pacific Railroad turned travel away. Its great resource, mining, is now reviving, and with its other resources developed, promises to restore her former prosperity.

Officers: Charles F. Irwin, County Judge; Whitman H. Hill, Clerk, Recorder and Auditor; Gideon J. Carpenter, District Attorney; William H. Brown, Sheriff and Treasurer; Thomas A. Gait, Tax Collector and Assessor; William Jabine, Surveyor; Frederick Collins, Coroner and Public Administrator; John P. Munson, Superintendent Public Schools.

California Gazetteer | AHGP California

Source: Pacific Coast Business Directory for 1876-78, Compiled by Henry G. Langley, San Francisco, 1875

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