Not only is Angels Camp famous for being the origin of one of Mark Twain’s earliest stories and for its annual Jumping Frog Jubilee, but for being the home of United States Ski Team member and two time Alpine Skiing World Cup Downhill Champion, Kyle Rasmussen!
It all started during the Mexican-American War, where George and Henry Angel were soldiers. They decided to give mining a shot when the big California Gold Rush fired up and soon decided the hard labor wasn’t for them. Instead, they launched a trading post to assist the other prospects. One thing led to another and the post turned into a camp and eventually a town which only lasted a few years until the placers ran dry.
A few years later it is rumored that a man named Bennegar Rasberry fired his gun into the ground when his muzzle loader became jammed. In doing so, revealed a large quartz vein loaded with gold! This vein was so massive; it began near the south end of Altaville and continued on Main Street all the way to Angels Creek. The mining of this vein lasted a few decades and produced around $20 million. There was over 200 stamp mills working furiously.
Angels Camp is home to the famous Angels Hotel where Mark Twain heard the story of Jim Smiley and his jumping frog that could not be beat! He thought this was hilarious and went back to the cabin he was residing in at the time and wrote the short story about it. The hotel still stands today and is the location of the “Frog Hop of Fame” where the winners’ commemorative plaques are placed in the sidewalk.
The marker is located on the northeast corner of Main Street and Birds Way. Don’t forget to visit the Angels Camp Museum and all the other nearby Historical Landmarks and neat places like Vallecito and Moaning Caverns.
Along with Mark Twain’s famous "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" story that spun into an annual fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee, Calaveras County is rich with Gold Rush history and folklore. Remnants of the railroads and Hispanic culture add to the charm of the county located in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Calaveras Big Trees State Park, a preserve of Giant Sequoia trees, and the uncommon gold telluride mineral Calaverite was discovered in the county in 1861, and is named for it.