Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gold Rush Camps & Bottles of Sierra County


A review By Jeff Wichmann

An interesting new book written by Rick Simi of Downieville, CA brings to light the many treasures hidden away in the peaks and valleys of the rugged Sierra County portion of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Simi documents the many towns and businesses that became a part of this great western past. He includes a timeline from when gold was discovered in Coloma all the way through the events that occurred over the many years the search for gold became a passion for citizens from every corner of the world. But the book is more than that; it is also a collectors guide of everything old and born of the great California Gold Rush.

As Simi tells the story of his love for the small town of Downieville, his town now, he unfolds the past by sharing with the reader the incredible number of camps, settlements and towns which yielded treasures left behind by those in search of their own. Things like smoking pipes, pot lids, belt buckles and bottles were just a few of the discarded items that would become today’s new treasure. He unveils the various types of bottles found in Sierra County and goes into detail regarding the age and rarity of each bottle, accompanied by a beautiful color photograph of each one. His chapter on belt buckles alone is worth the price of the book and he ends with a glossary of terms used by the early settlers and words still used today.

This richly detailed and illustrated book is a perfect warm-up for planning trips into these mighty mountains often called the most beautiful in the world. You’ll learn the many different places gold was sought after and the amazing camps and towns that emerged from nowhere. Towns like Goodyear’s Bar and McDonald Flat, Jim Crow and the Secret Ravine. Some easily accessible by car such as Downieville, others tucked away into the nooks and crannies of the breathtaking landscape. As Simi points out, where there was gold there were men and women who feverishly spent their days working and their nights dreaming of better things to come.

If you’re interested in buying a copy of Gold Rush Camps and Bottles of Sierra County, you can contact the author or his wife, Rick or Cherry Simi P.O. Box 115 Downieville, CA 95936 or at ricksimi@att.net
and for $39.99 they will be happy to get one off right away. Gold Rush Camps is a wonderful book for anyone and everyone who has any interest in the California Gold Rush. As a reference and collector’s guide, you’ll be amazed at the history of this great Sierra County.
The second printing of the first edition is now available for purchase and will be available at the Auburn Bottle Show. See you in Auburn - rs


  1. Awesome Book! Me Amigo Ricardo, I highly recommend it, I have really enjoyed flipping pages in mine. Good Photo's and some Serious Info on the early days in CaliGoldfornia. A well Done Book. Dr.Barnes

  2. I'll ditto the comment from Doc. Barnes. I may have to buy a new "second printing" copy. I have absorbed so much information from my first copy the pages are all blank. Great book!