California Historical Landmarks in El Dorado County

California Historical Landmark 569
Mormon Island
Green Valley Road Five Hundred Feet Northeast of El Dorado-Sacramento County Border
Folsom Lake State Recreation Area


Mormon Island

Early in March 1848, W. Sidney, S. Willis, and Wilford Hudson, members of the Mormon Battalion, set out from Sutter's Fort to hunt deer. Stopping on the south fork of the American River, they found gold. They told their story on returning to the fort, and soon about 150 Mormons and other miners flocked to the site, which was named Mormon Island. This was the first major gold strike in California after James W. Marshall's discovery at Coloma. The population of the town in 1853 was more than 2,500. It had four hotels, three dry-goods stores, five general merchandise stores, an express office, and many small shops. The first ball in Sacramento County was held here on December 25, 1849. A fire destroyed the town in 1856, and it was never rebuilt. Its site was inundated by Folsom Lake in 1955.

Citation from California Office of Historic Preservation

Underwater in California

The damming of rivers and creeks inundated many 19th century cemeteries, buildings and entire towns.

Bagby (Merced River)
Bidwell's Bar (Feather River)
Camanche (Mokelumne River)
Condemned Bar (American River)
Jacksonville (Tuolumne River)

Middle Bar (Pardee River)
Mormon Island, (American River)
Negro Hill (American River)
Poverty Bar (Mokelumne River)
Reynold's House (Silver Creek)

Salmon Falls (American River)
Searsville (Corte Madera Creek)
Whiskeytown (Clear Creek)

The town of Volcano in Amador County had a close call in 1934 but was granted a reprieve and survives today.

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