California Gold Discovery Site: Sutter's Mill


This site marks the spot where gold was discovered by John Marshall at Sutter's Mill in 1849.

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, Coloma CA
California State Parks
Group Acknowledged: 
Gold Miners
Historical Subject: 

In 1849, workers at Sutter's Mill in California discovered gold in the river, sparking the California Gold Rush and causing one of the major migrations in U.S. history. The original building fell into ruin and a memorial was eventually built using stone remains. Sutter's Mill is a part of Gold Discovery State Park.

Physical Aspects: 
Sutter's Mill Replica

The monument itself sits on the shore of the American River and is constructed out of layered stone. The stone is laid in a traditional manner, but smaller stones of a lighter color have been inlaid to read "Sutter's Mill". A bronze memorial plaque is set in the middle of the stone monument.

The plaque reads:

"This monument marks the site of John A. Sutter's sawmill. In its tail-race, on January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold and started great rush of Argonauts to California. The Society of California Pioneers definitely located and marked the site in 1924 - additional timbers and relics, including the original tailrace unearthed in 1947, were discovered after the property became a state park. The State erected the Marshall Monument overlooking this spot in 1890 through efforts begun in 1886 by the Native Sons of the Golden West."

Date of Dedication: 
March 1955
Place Location: