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Placerville is the county seat of El Dorado County, California. The population was 9,610 at the 2000 census.
Placerville was a central hub for the Mother Lode region's mining operations. The town had many services, including transportation (of people and goods), lodging, banking, and had a market and general store. The history of hard-rock mining is evidenced by an open and accessible Gold Bug Park & Mine, now a museum with tours and books.
The Southern Pacific Railroad once had a branch line that extended from Sacramento to Placerville. The track was abandoned in the 1980s. The Camino, Placerville and Lake Tahoe Railroad (now abandoned) also operated an 8-mile shortline that operated between Camino, California and Placerville until June 17, 1986. As of March 29, 2007, 52 miles of the right-of-way have been purchased by the city of Folsom, and eighteen miles of track have been restored. Plans are under consideration for a tourist excursion train along the route.
Placerville is nicknamed "Old Hangtown" (due to the fact that many people were hanged in the late 1800s), this can be seen on the street markers in town. A belltower, once used as a warning bell for fire, is located on main street which is a landmark in the area. Placerville is home to the Mountain Democrat newspaper and Marshall Medical Center.
Placerville is a historic community from the gold-rush days, and accordingly there are many old buildings from this period. A walk down Main Street also reveals many historical markers, signifying spots of certain events or persons of importance during this period. Placerville was also on the line of the Pony Express, a short-lived mail carrier service that connected California to the Midwest and East (basically from Sacramento to St. Louis). The Pony Express eventually gave way to the efficiencies of railroad transportation.
The branch line was actually never allowed to be abandoned and was purchased from the Union Pacific in 1996 for $14 million by the Joint Powers Authority consisting of Sacramento County, Folsom, and El Dorado County. Currently there is a group that is restoring the line to run historic excursion trains from Folsom to Placerville a total of 35 miles of track that is still in place to this day. There is also a mountain bike trail and equestrian trails.
Over the years many notable and influential people had shops in Placerville, mostly along the now historic Main Street.
Edwin Markham - American poet
John Studebaker - auto maker
Levi Strauss - clothing maker
Mark Hopkins - railroad financier (and eventual hotel owner)
Philip Armour - meat packer
Snowshoe Thompson - mail carrier
Modern notable people:
Thomas Kinkade - American painter
Toby Hall - American baseball player
Location of Placerville in California.
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