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Coloma, California

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Title: Coloma, California  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: California State Route 153, California Gold Rush, Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, Sacramento metropolitan area, Shingle Springs, California
Collection: 1849 Establishments in California, Buildings and Structures on the National Register of Historic Places in California, California Gold Rush, Census-Designated Places in California, Census-Designated Places in El Dorado County, California, Former County Seats in California, Ghost Towns in California, Historic American Buildings Survey in California, Historic Districts in California, Historic Districts on the National Register of Historic Places in California, National Historic Landmarks in California, Populated Places Established in 1849, Sacramento Metropolitan Area
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Coloma, California

Coloma, California
census-designated place
Coloma, 2008
Coloma, 2008
Coloma, California is located in California
Coloma, California
Position in California.
Country  United States
State  California
County El Dorado
 • Total 3.355 sq mi (8.690 km2)
 • Land 3.355 sq mi (8.690 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)  0%
Elevation[2] 764 ft (233 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 529
 • Density 160/sq mi (61/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
GNIS feature ID 1655915; 2582981

U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Coloma, California; U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Coloma, California

Sutter's Mill 1850
Nearest city Placerville, California[3]
Area 112 acres (45 ha)
Built 1848
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 66000207[4]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966[4]
Designated NHLD July 4, 1961[5]

Coloma (formerly, Colluma and Culloma)[6] is a census-designated place[7] in El Dorado County, California, USA. It is approximately 36 miles (58 km) northeast of Sacramento, California. Coloma is most noted for being the site where James W. Marshall found gold in the Sierra Nevada, at Sutter's Mill on January 24, 1848,[3] leading to the California Gold Rush. Coloma's population is 529.

Today it is a tourist attraction known for its ghost town and the centerpiece of the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. Coloma was designated a National Historic Landmark District on July 4, 1961.[3][5]

It lies at an elevation of 764 feet (233 m).[2]


  • History 1
  • Ghost Town 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Politics 4
  • Climate 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Coloma grew around Sutter's Mill following the finding of gold.[6] A post office was established in 1849 under the name Culloma, changing to Coloma in 1851.[6]

One of Coloma's earliest settlers was Silas Sanderson (1824–1886), who went on to become the 7th Chief Justice of California.[8]

Ghost Town

Robert Bell's store in Coloma

While some people still live in the area, Coloma is considered something of a ghost town because civic buildings such as the jail have been abandoned and left to decay, and other buildings from its boom era (1847-1852) have been converted into museums and other historical displays. The tailrace of Sutter's Mill remains, along with a nearby reconstruction.[9]

In reality the meaningfulness of the township of Coloma has dissipated as residents who live in the wider Coloma Valley area generally share a community spirit.[10]

The town currently has approximately 300 inhabitants. The local economy is predominately agriculture[11] and tourism. Of particular note is the rafting industry as the South Fork American River is one of the most popular white water trips in North America.[12]

The name comes from the original natives' (Nisenan Native Americans) name for the valley Coloma is in: Cullumah, meaning "beautiful." Coloma is on the South Fork American River that runs through the valley and was built on the original Native American village of Koloma.[13]


Post Office
James Marshall cabin in Coloma

The 2010 United States Census[14] reported that Coloma had a population of 529. The population density was 157.7 people per square mile (60.9/km²). The racial makeup of Coloma was 462 (87.3%) White, 4 (0.8%) African American, 3 (0.6%) Native American, 8 (1.5%) Asian, 0 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 15 (2.8%) from other races, and 37 (7.0%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 63 persons (11.9%).

The Census reported that 429 people (93.6% of the population) lived in households, 34 (6.4%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

Rich Gold ore, Stuckslacker Mine, Coloma

There were 216 households, out of which 44 (20.4%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 116 (53.7%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 14 (6.5%) had a female householder with no husband present, 10 (4.6%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 22 (10.2%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 2 (0.9%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 51 households (23.6%) were made up of individuals and 20 (9.3%) had someone living alone. The average household size was 2.29. There were 140 families (64.8% of all households); the average family size was 2.64.

The population was spread out with 69 people (13.0%) under the age of 18, 31 people (5.9%) aged 18 to 24, 127 people (24.0%) aged 25 to 44, 200 people (37.8%) aged 45 to 64, and 102 people (19.3%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 49.0 years. For every 100 females there were 115.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 120.1 males.

There were 251 housing units at an average density of 74.8 per square mile (28.9/km²), of which 153 (70.8%) were owner-occupied and 63 (29.2%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.3%; the rental vacancy rate was 12.5%. 355 people (67.1% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units, and 140 people (26.5%) lived in rental housing units.


In the state legislature, Coloma is in the 1st Senate District, represented by Republican Ted Gaines,[15] and the 5th Assembly District, represented by Republican Frank Bigelow.[16]

Federally, Coloma is in California's 1st congressional district, represented by Republican Doug LaMalfa.[17]


According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Coloma has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csa" on climate maps.[18]


  1. ^ "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files – Places – California".  
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Coloma, California
  3. ^ a b c Allen W. Welts (February 1970). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park / Coloma" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-06-22.  and Accompanying one image, from 1850s PDF (213 KB)
  4. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  5. ^ a b "Coloma". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  6. ^ a b c Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 468.  
  7. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Coloma, California
  8. ^ The State Register and Year Book of Facts: 1859. Henry G. Langley and Samuel A Morison. 1859. 
  9. ^ "Marshall Gold Discovery SHP". California Depart of Parks and Recreation. Retrieved 20 May 2012. 
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Koloma
  14. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Coloma CDP". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Senators". State of California. Retrieved April 5, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Members Assembly". State of California. Retrieved April 5, 2013. 
  17. ^ "California's 1st Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 3, 2013. 
  18. ^ Climate Summary for Coloma, California

External links

  • Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) No. CA-1301, "Sutter's Mill, American River (submerged), Coloma vicinity, El Dorado County, CA"
  • HABS No. CA-1309, "James W. Marshall Cabin, Marshall Monument Road, Coloma, El Dorado County, CA"
  • HABS No. CA-1374, "Coloma Road (House), Placerville, El Dorado County, CA"
  • HABS No. CA-1376, "Post Office, Main Street, Coloma, El Dorado County, CA"
  • HABS No. CA-1377, "Barn, Coloma, El Dorado County, CA"
  • HABS No. CA-1378, "House, Coloma, El Dorado County, CA"
  • HABS No. CA-1380, "Chinese Store (Ruins), Main Street, Coloma, El Dorado County, CA"
  • HABS No. CA-1381, "Meyer's Dance Hall & Saloon, Shingle Spring Road, Coloma, El Dorado County, CA"
  • HABS No. CA-1503, "Sierra Nevada Hotel, Coloma, El Dorado County, CA"
  • Local visitor's guide
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