"Hangtown" Placerville by WulfstanTraveller

Placerville Travel Guide: 16 reviews and 24 photos

Placerville, the rough old mining town once called Dry Diggins and then Hangtown before the ruggedness petered out and the town decided to gentrify itself, is one of the most interesting Gold Rush towns. Although, like most, it has long since faded and has in recent decades been hit hard by freeway and suburbdan development, it still retains enough of its old quirkiness and charm to make it worth visiting, especially in winter.

This was one of the most important of the first wave of Gold-Rush towns and in the early 1850s was one of the largest towns in the state. In fact, in about 1854, it was apparently the third largest city in the state, behind only San Francisco and Sacramento, although this didn't last and others like Marysville, Nevada City, and more soon surpassed it as its population declined.

As a stop on the route to and from Sacramento through the Sierra Nevada, and an early location of dry and placer mining from the very start, it slightly predated the other big mining towns like Nevada City, Grass Valley, or Sonora in importance.

This is home to Hangtown Fry, a scrambled dish including, amongst other things, eggs and oysters, hard to come by and thus expensive during the Gold Rush era.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Not far from Sacramento; charming.
  • Cons:The freeway has not been nice to the town.
  • Last visit to Placerville: Dec 2006
  • Intro Updated Jul 9, 2009
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