Monday, November 3, 2014

Sierra County Gold Rush Camps

The North Fork Bars

From Goodyears Bar to Indian Valley

Texas Bar

Located on the north side of the North Yuba about a 1/8th of a mile west of Goodyears Creek this settlement was quite possibly founded by miners from Texas in the early 1850’s. Later mined by Chinese miners the bar was worked with water wheels and derricks. It is believed the Chinese settlement also had a Joss, or Chinese temple, erected at this site. Remains of a stone structure, with scattered Chinese pottery around it, lead me to believe that indeed, a Joss house existed at this site. The re-alignment of Highway 49 during the 1960’s partially covered this gold rush era camp. At the present time this area is a working mining claim owned by a Sierra City resident

Hoodoo Bar

This small mining camp was located one quarter mile below Goodyears Bar on the south side of the Yuba River is said to have received its name from the way the local Indians said “How do you do” sounding like Hoodoo. Although this bar was mined in the early 1850’s there is no mention of activity at this site until 1863 when a store and several houses are listed by the Sierra County Tax Collector. A foot trail from Goodyears Bar, on the south side of the Yuba River, leads to a bluff above Hoodoo Bar. On this bluff remnants of the store, cabins and gold rush era bottle shards are scattered about the area. Several un embossed open pontil bottles were recovered from this site 

Rantedottler Bar

As early as 1850 this good size bar located one quarter mile below Hoodoo Bar was prospected and mined for gold. Major Downie filed a mining claim and built a cabin at this site in 1851. Mined from the 1850’s until the early 1880’s a store, warehouse, bridge and several cabins were constructed at Rantedottler Bar and gold production was steady but not spectacular. Several floods and high water have disturbed this site and little remains of this gold rush camp. In the winter of 1991 the Yuba River froze and a couple of us walked across to this gold rush site. Heavy deposits of river sand have totally covered the area that contained the main portion of the camp
Cutthroat Bar/Woodville Bar

Located a short distance above St. Joe Bar this small gold rush camp received its name supposedly from a sick German miner who cut his throat at this site. This camp should not be confused with the supply and mining camp further down the Yuba River near Canyon Creek and known as Cut-Eye Foster’s Bar. Of the little amount of information available on this site it is known that Ah Sing and Ah Chime sold to Ah Tsung a mining claim at Woodville Bar in 1865 and Ah Youw was operating a derrick and two water wheels during the same period. From this information it can be assumed that during the early 1850’s gold rush miners worked this area and later on it was re-mined by Chinese miners.

St. Joe Bar

Another settlement to develop in the vicinity of Goodyears Bar was a camp with the early name of St. Joe Bar. Founded sometime in 1850 and boasting a store as early as 1852. it was a significant enough settlement to hold a meeting in 1852 of several hundred miners to determine the mining laws of the district. In the mid 1850’s the bar was renamed Ramshorn and re-mined by Chinese miners. Chinese pottery, gold rush bottles and artifacts have been found in the area documenting the early settlement of this site. The United States Forest Service’s Indian Rock Picnic Ground now occupies St. Joe Bar.
 St. Catherine Creek
A small gold rush camp of maybe four or five structures was located where St. Catherine Creek empties into the Yuba River. At this site small level platforms were constructed from boulders and fill dirt to hold the tent houses or crude cabins that occupied this site during gold rush times. At this site 1 intact cathedral pickle and several small un embossed open pontil bottles were recovered along with the wreath section of a gold rush belt buckle. This area is now a mining claim and is worked every summer by the claim holder.


  1. Rick, thank you. I enjoyed the education provided by the map and your information. I am not familiar with this region of California, I feel a little more in the know now :)

  2. For those wishing to learn more about Sierra County Gold Rush Camps, I'd highly recommend purchasing Gold Rush Camps and Bottles of Sierra County by Rick Simi. It has a wealth of information, and is loaded with maps, and photos of killer western glass.

    Too bad the Southern Oregon Gold Rush of the early 1850's has proven to be nearly impossible to document in like fashion!