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Gold Rush Digs

Fresh off of a 3,000 mile journey from Los Angeles to Seattle and back, I can’t help but be inspired by the mountainous trails that whizzed by my window at a moderate 70 miles per hour for many, many hours.  I imagined miners, malnourished and covered in dirt, gold glinting in their eyes; families traveling through flood and famine and disease along the Oregon Trail to the mountains of San Francisco only to find depleted ores; prostitution and brothels, whisky and tobacco, low-lying fog and misty wharves. …the Gold Rush was evident all along the way.

And while I’m thanking my shining stars that I’m back at home in my own bed, I just can’t get the tales of the famous gold diggers out of my mind…

Fun Facts from the Gold Rush:

– San Francisco was established as an effect of the arrival of the gold rush ships on the west coast and around 1849, saw hundreds of thousands of “Forty-Niners” flocking to the mountains surrounding the bay in search of fortune.  The population rose so quickly that even docked ships became temporary housing for the miners.

– From the bay, camps spread out in all directions along the Sierras and then even further east to the Rockies as California gold was depleted.  Due to the immense amount of camps popping up all over the western frontier, greed and lawlessness ruled, making ad-hoc legal systems, mis-treatment of natives, and prostitution the norm.

Gold Rush Prostitutes

Prostitution district of Klondike City, across the Klondike River from Dawson, Yukon Territory, ca. 1899 (washington.edu)

 

– The Pony Express was established as a result of the Gold Rush and 150 stations were set up across the Oregon Trail from St. Joseph, Missouri to San Francisco.  Unfortunately, only 18 months later the invention and popularization of the telegraph put the poor ponies and their riders out of business.

Pony Express Recruitment Poster

Pony Express Recruitment Poster (transamericanelectricbiketour)

 

– Mormon leader Brigham Young led his followers from Illinois and Missouri to the lawless west where they could escape religious persecution.  They landed in what is now the Salt Lake City area of Utah and sold their farmed goods to prospectors and their families traveling the Oregon Trail.

 

And a treasury inspired by the glinting gold rush:

Gold Rush Treasury

Gold Rush Treasury

Happy trails.

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Comments

  1. I love your facts and you found some really great pictures! Sounds like a great trip=)

  2. mothcaterpillar says:

    wow! I hope you enjoy(ed) your trip!
    love the Gold Rush shoe!!!! :-)

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