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Posts From Bob Holton

Ghost With a Past: Bodie State Historic Park

Ghost With a Past: Bodie State Historic Park

In the middle of nowhere and stuck in a time warp, Bodie is far and away California’s ghost town to end all ghost towns.

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A Visit to Historic Knights Ferry

A Visit to Historic Knights Ferry

A remarkable covered bridge is just part of this little river town’s rich Gold Rush history.

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Historic Haunts: Exploring the Utica Mansion

Historic Haunts: Exploring the Utica Mansion

At the Utica Mansion, there is more than what first meets the eye.

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Punny Dambacher: Growing Up in Jail

Punny Dambacher: Growing Up in Jail

Punny Dambacher, 91, shares memories of his father, a six-term sheriff, and his childhood home ― aka, the Tuolumne County Jail.

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Lost Lode of the Sierra

Lost Lode of the Sierra

Stories of hidden wealth in our foothills have fascinated professional and amateur treasure hunters alike, but Tuolumne County’s Lost Lode of the Sierra has managed to escape notice and elude the pages of history for more than 100 years. Just

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Gold Strikes, Swindles and Wild Doings

Gold Strikes, Swindles and Wild Doings

In the realm of swindles, scams and backsliding chicanery, it is generally agreed that the following episodes were the Old West’s biggest gold mine frauds of the 19th Century. While one of these stories took place in Calaveras County and

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Gold Rush History: 49er Scams Exposed

Gold Rush History: 49er Scams Exposed

Those who have dug gold in the Mother Lode – day after day for hours on end – know just how hard it is for a placer miner to earn an honest living, which is probably why so many 49ers

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Gold Rush History: A Land of Golden Opportunities & World-Class Hoaxes

California has always been part reality and part fantasy. Since the days of the Gold Rush, it has been known as the land of infinite opportunity – and home to some of the world’s greatest hoaxes. A classic instance of

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Gold Rush History: Lost Gold Mines of the Sierra Nevada

Was he a talented treasure hunter or the crazy son of an English lord? Only Thomas Stoddart knew for sure.

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Timeline: Hospital History

1849 – First hospital in Sonora opens in a tent near today’s Courthouse Square. Attending physician paid $8 a day. 1851 – New hospital established near old Roman Catholic church (SE corner of Norlin and Jackson streets); special tax levied;

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Remembering Old Tuolumne General

Remembering Old Tuolumne General

Tuolumne General Medical Facility was originally called Tuolumne County Hospital. The county-run, taxpayer-funded hospital played an important role in Sonora’s early history.

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Gold Rush History, Vigilantes: Problem or Solution?

When vigilance committees first appeared in Tuolumne County, they were surprisingly organized, professional,fair-minded groups made up of respectable citizens.

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Gold Rush History: How the West Went Broke

Many hardworking gold miners lost their entire savings, except for what they had secretly buried in jars, tin cans and Dutch ovens around their claims.

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Gold Rush History: Amazing Stories of Luck in the Diggings

The Mother Lode was once a risk-takers’ paradise – a wild and carefree place where a man’s pile of gold was more the doing of chance than of skillful mining practices. This led to lively times in our foothills when

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Gold Rush History: Luck of the Miners

Gold Rush History: Luck of the Miners

The Mother Lode was once a risk-takers’ paradise – a wild and carefree place where a man’s pile of gold was more the doing of chance than of skillful mining practices. This led to lively times in our foothills when

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Gold Rush History: 49ers Left Rich Legacy of Outrageous Names

Oddly enough, one of the wettest towns in the Mother Lode was named Dry Town.

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Gold Rush History: Gossip from the Diggings

In the wild and carefree days of the gold rush, the diggings were abuzz with unusual stories like these: It was rumored in 1849 that a Frenchman on the Tuolumne River found a 34-pound nugget that drove him crazy. Whenever

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Gold Rush History: Performing Pets of the Mother Lode

Sierra wildlife should play starring roles in stories that recount our foothills’ history, but seldom do we hear about these loveable creatures, these all-but-forgotten creatures, these stage-struck creatures that performed amazing tricks in the diggings and brought smiles to a

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