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

Gold Discovered Just Downstream in Auburn Ravine! - Why Daylight North Rich Ravine?

 
 
Gold Discovered Just Downstream in Auburn Ravine! Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, November 13, 2011
1. Gold Discovered Just Downstream in Auburn Ravine! Marker
[Photo Captions:]
Upper Photo:
Hydraulic mining is a form of mining that employs water to dislodge rock material or move sediment. This mining technique developed by the Romans to remove overburdened and then gold-bearing debris, was the most used mining method until 1884, when a court case brought by farmers and valley cities curtailed the practice.

Three Lower Photos:
These are Daguerreotype photographs taken by Joseph Blaney Starkweather in 1852.

These early photographs show the diversity of the miners in the region. Auburn, one of the oldest towns in California, grew from these early American miners. Unlike much of California, the Spanish or Mexican settlement influence was absent from the area.
Photographs courtesy of California State Library.
Inscription.
[Kiosk Side A:]
Gold Discovered Just Downstream in Auburn Ravine!
On May 16, 1848, just downstream in Old Town Auburn where North Rich Ravine meets Auburn Ravine, gold was discovered by a Frenchman named Claude Chana. After leaving his ranch along Bear River on his way to join his friend James Marshall at Coloma, Claude and three other men pitched their tents along Auburn Ravine where they tried panning for gold in the stream. They found three sizable nuggets and the town that became Auburn was born, the second mining settlement (after Coloma) of the great gold rush.

No one knows if North Rich Ravine had gold, but the nearby Rich Ravine (now flowing under Sacramento St.) and Auburn Ravine were two of the richest in the world. By the end of 1848, they had yielded six million dollars worth of gold.

When gold was discovered, photography was only ten years old. Some of the earliest gold rush photos were taken at Auburn Ravine.

[Kiosk Side B:]
Why Daylight North Rich Ravine?
In 1847, before the Gold Rush, the cold, gold-flecked stream of North Rich Ravine started at Crutcher Spring at the end of High Street, flowing through marshes and meadows and low rolling hills. Fed by side streams and gullies, it flowed where the Bank of America
Why Daylight North Rich Ravine? Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, November 13, 2011
2. Why Daylight North Rich Ravine? Marker
Upper Right Photo:
A view of the ravine from within the pipe.

The upper left photo is of miners standing in the ravine. Far left photo is of the Auburn Grammar School and the small photo is a scene of people walking through a flooded street.

Upper color photo caption:
North Rich Ravine before daylighting.

Lower color photo caption:
North Rich Ravine after daylighting.
and Auburn Journal now stand, then into a large marsh area that would become Central Square. It ran on past the rocky area where the State Theater now stands and then plunged headlong toward the future home of the Cooper Amphitheater. Then it flowed along the Court House parking lot until it joined other streams in Rich Ravine near historic Old Town Auburn, then on to Auburn Ravine, and finally to the Sacramento River on its inevitable journey to the sea.

But over time, this stream almost disappeared. As Auburn grew, so did the need for land and for flood control. Like many other streams and drainages, North Rich Ravine’s free flowing water was put into a pipe, channeling it away from the marshes. Of course, piping creeks and drainages made them virtually invisible most of the time, at least until the rains came. Then, there would often be too much water for the pipes to hold and it would rage to the surface, rushing right through the historic buildings of Old Town Auburn.

This periodic flooding and its attendant property damage prompted the City of Auburn to partner with the California Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to bring the waters of North Rich Ravine back to the surface. Thanks to this process, known as “daylighting,” the water flows freely once again, not only restoring the natural beauty of the landscape,
Permanent Protection for Oak Woodlands - Panel 3 image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, November 13, 2011
3. Permanent Protection for Oak Woodlands - Panel 3
but also improving water quality, recharging ground water and reducing periodic flooding by allowing the water to flow into the surrounding meadow and basins. Mother Nature was probably right in the first place.

[Kiosk Side C:]
Permanent Protection for Oak Woodlands
The centerpiece of community efforts to acquire and protect School Park Preserve is the creation of a conversation easement giving stewardship of the heritage oak grove to the Placer Land Trust. As stewards, the trust is charged with ensuring that any activities in the park are consistent with the protection of the oak grove and surrounding woodlands. The conservation easement is a permanent part of the title to the land itself.

Key provisions of the conservation easement include:
• A master site design that specifies the types of development allowed in the park.
• A prohibition against any subdivision of the property.
• An Oak Management Plan.

The Oak Management Plan is carefully designed to make sure that activities in the park do not harm the native oak woodland preserve.

The plan bans activities such as paving, excavation, or over-watering, which can threaten the life of these century-old oaks and the new seedlings that are now sprouting. Non-native invasive plant species, such as yellow star thistle, broom, and fennel
School Park Preserve - Panel D image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, November 13, 2011
4. School Park Preserve - Panel D
that choke out natural grasses and wildflowers, will also be carefully controlled. As part of its stewardship role, Placer Land Trust regularly monitors the health of the oak woodlands at the park and works with the City of Auburn to make sure these heritage oaks are protected so that they can be enjoyed by generations to come.

Placer Land Trust is a private nonprofit organization that works with willing landowners to permanently preserve natural and agricultural lands in Placer County for future generations.

[Kiosk Side D:]
School Park Preserve
School Park Preserve is the result of community leadership and collaboration by six community partners – Emigrant Trails Greenway Trust, Placer Community Foundation, Boys and Girls Club of Auburn, Placer Land Trust, Auburn Unified Elementary School District, and the City of Auburn. The project was launched in 2001, when these groups signed a Memorandum of Understanding to preserve this heritage oak grove and to restore Cooper Amphitheater and North Rich Ravine.
 
Location. 38° 53.819′ N, 121° 4.448′ W. Marker is in Auburn, California, in Placer County. Marker can be reached from Lincoln Way east of College Way, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Kiosk is located at the
The Kiosk image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, November 13, 2011
5. The Kiosk
This view is of Side A (on the left) and Side B (on the right.) The Auburn City Hall is the building in the background.
City Hall (northern) entrance to the School Park Preserve. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1225 Lincoln Way, Auburn CA 95603, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Odd Fellows Hall, Auburn Lodge #7 (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Historic Cooper Amphitheater (about 400 feet away); Placer County Courthouse (about 500 feet away); Veteran's Memorial Hall (about 700 feet away); Gold Bug Stamp Mill (approx. 0.2 miles away); Brye House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Central Square (approx. 0.2 miles away); Auburn Native Sons Hall (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Auburn.
 
Also see . . .  The History of Auburn. Claude Chana learned of James Marshall’s discovery at the sawmill in Coloma and set out with a party to try his luck. On May 16, 1848 Claude Chana found gold in the Auburn Ravine, and Baltimore Ravine. (Submitted on February 12, 2012.) 
 
Steps Which Led to the Auburn Grammar School image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, November 13, 2011
6. Steps Which Led to the Auburn Grammar School
Next to the kiosk are the only remaining signs of the schoolhouse which once stood at this site - The Steps.
North Rich Ravine image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, November 13, 2011
7. North Rich Ravine
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page has been viewed 722 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.   3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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