Another famous writer, Bret Harte, used the early-day gold camp as inspiration for his tale, "The Luck of Roaring Camp."
The quartz lode that put Angels Camp on the map was discovered quite by accident when a miner named Rasberry was having some trouble with his muzzle-loading rifle. The ramrod had jammed, and frustrated, Rasberry fired the gun into the ground. Retrieving the ramrod, he found a glittering piece of rock. In three days Rasberry took $10,000 from his claim and went on to make a fortune.
Angels Camp was named after early-day trading post owner George Angel, a member of the 7th Regiment of New York Volunteers who came west in 1848.
The Carson Hill and Melones mines at Carson Hill, south of Angels Camp on Highway 49 produced fabulous wealth. Together these mineswith 15 miles of tunnels honeycombing the hillsproduced over $26 million in gold. One mining shaft reaches a depth of 5,000 feet. The biggest nugget ever taken from the mines weighed 195 pounds, was 15 inches long, six inches wide and four inches thick. Valued at $43,000 when it was found, it is worth about $2 million today.
In 1990 the population of Angels Camp was 2,409. The Angels Camp Museum (753 S. Main Street), features a well-organized collection of mining equipment, wagons, a carriage house and stamp mill. Other notable buildings are the E. & G. Stickle General Store, which dates from 1856, the Angels Hotel, where Mark Twain first heard the jumping frog story from a bartender there, and the imposing jailhouse close to the hotel. At the other end of town is the Peirano Building, which dates from 1854.