This region was first inhabited by a tribe of Miwok Native Americans who were called "Mokelumne," which means people of Mokel. "Mok Hill" began to grow after gold was discovered here in 1848. Miners from dozens of nations congregated to reap the plentiful placer gold deposits; it's said that diggings were so rich that claims were often limited to 16 square feet. The French, Chileños, African Americans and others found wealth here. From 1852 until 1866 it was the seat of Calaveras County and at one point boasted a population of 15,000.

But this was one of the gold country's wildest towns. The ethnic groups fought each other, and for one period of 17 weeks at least one man was killed every Saturday night as a result of violence. Nearby French Hill was the site of the so-called "French War" in 1851. And then there's China Gulch Street and Chile Gulch.

In this photogenic town, several buildings made of rhyolite tuff, a light-brown stone, remain. Here, the I.O.O.F. hall was the first three-story building in the Mother Lode. Also worth noting is the wooden Congregational church, which dates from 1856, making it the oldest Congregational Church in the state.

A few Mokelumne Hill scenes: Above left is the community center, as seen from the Hotel Leger. Above right is the Hotel Leger. Below left, a visitor peeks into the store of an antique store. Right, the Gold Country's first three-story building, the I.O.O.F. hall.
Above, a doorway on Moke Hill's main street. Left, a historical marker gives some history of the town. Below, an old Dodge truck crumbles in a driveway.
Home | Recreation | Lifestyle | Maps | Real Estate | Articles | Advertise Here | Contact Us
Please note: all photographs and other illustrations on this site are © sierrafoothillmagazine.com.

Do not copy without permission.