Statement of Significance (as of designation - July 4, 1961):
The discovery of placer gold at Coloma on January 24, 1848, resulted in the greatest series of gold strikes on the North American continent. The initial strike occurred at a sawmill constructed by land baron John A. Sutter on the South Fork of the American River. Coloma grew up around Sutter's Mill, and became the distributing center from which other mining camps were founded to the north, east, and south. The town died as the deposits were exhausted in the late 1850's.