Following the discovery of gold in Coloma, California on January 24, 1848, boomtowns sprang up quicker than weeds. Just eight miles away, Old Dry Diggins was one such tent-filled mining camp that took root. So named because miners had to move cartloads of dry soil to running water in order to separate out the gold, the population quickly swelled from hundreds of gold seekers to thousands.
As to be expected, things got a little lawless and wild, and the name changed to Hangtown after numerous hangings took place in quick succession. Today, we know this historic gold rush town as Placerville, which has been the El Dorado county seat for the last 155 years.
Over the years, Placerville has lost many of its old buildings due to fire and demolition, but some landmarks, such as its bell tower, still exist. It was once used as a warning bell for fire and is located in downtown Placerville