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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Downieville in Sierra County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Downieville

 
 
Downieville Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, June 27, 2011
1. Downieville Marker
Inscription. Downieville, County Seat of Sierra County, was founded in 1849 upon discovery of gold near the confluence of the North Yuba and Downie Rivers. First called The Forks, it was renamed Downieville after Major Downie, who is said to have offered to throw a pan of gold dust in the street if the town was named after him.

In 1852, the town had a population of about 3,000. The placer mines in the area were fabulously rich, one site reportedly yielding $300 to the pan for a brief time. The Tin Cap Diggins, which was located on the right bank above the second bridge was said to have been so rich that the owners worked each day until they had a tin drinking cup full of gold.

Downieville had its share of tragedies. The town suffered disastrous fires in 1852, 1858 and 1864, and a raging flood in 1938. Many of the buildings, however still remain.

The above picture is a detailed drawing made by a Forest Service illustrator from a photograph taken in about 1880. In the drawing, note the absence of trees on the hillsides around the town. The forest was cut by early day settlers and miners to meet their needs for fuel and construction materials. In the meantime, with a little help and fire protection from man, Nature has since reforested these early day clearcuts.
 
Erected by
Downieville Marker image. Click for full size.
June 2, 2013
2. Downieville Marker
United States Forest Service.
 
Location. 39° 33.475′ N, 120° 49.977′ W. Marker is in Downieville, California, in Sierra County. Marker is on State Highway 49, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is located at the turnout at Cannon Point which is located at the western entrance to the town. Marker is in this post office area: Downieville CA 95936, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Cannon Point - California Volunteers Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Sierra County, California (approx. 0.2 miles away); Mountain Howitzers (approx. 0.2 miles away); Sierra County Sheriff’s Gallows (approx. 0.2 miles away); Henness Pass Road - Downieville (approx. ¼ mile away); Hirshfeldter Building (approx. 0.3 miles away); Downieville Veterans Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away); Masonic Building (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Downieville.
 
Additional keywords. Gold Rush
 
Categories. Settlements & Settlers
 
The Marker with the Town of Downieville in the Background image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, June 27, 2011
3. The Marker with the Town of Downieville in the Background
Drawing Displayed on Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, June 27, 2011
4. Drawing Displayed on Marker
Downieville image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
5. Downieville
HABS CAL,46-DOWNV,1-1 Looking from the west. A 1934 copy of this 1865 photo
Downieville image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle
6. Downieville
From a similiar viewpoint of photo #4 as seen today. Note the lack of trees due to clear cutting in the mid 1800's and the re-growth seen today.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page has been viewed 350 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.   2. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.   3, 4. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.   5, 6. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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