The access to precious resources located in Foresthill did not end with the Gold Rush. Pristine forest landscapes offer visitors a wealth of recreational opportunities in the same areas where miners actively searched for shining nuggets of gold, and loggers felled trees to send to lumber mills that are now closed. Area visitors can enjoy beautiful mountain scenery, hikes, lakes, and recreational activities along the American River.
Foresthill is located on a broad ridge between the North and Middle Forks of the American River, approximately 20 miles east of Auburn. The Foresthill Bridge which soars 730 feet above the American River's North Fork, is reputed to be the 3rd highest bridge in the United States and the tallest in California. The Foresthill Divide Museum presents exhibits the illustrate the history of Forest Hill.
The town of Foresthill was among the earliest gold mining camps in California. Gold was discovered here in 1850 and the town became recognized as the most productive cement-tunnel mining district in the state. The year 1852 was also the beginning of hydraulic mining at Yankee Jim's (California Historical Landmark No. 398).
A number of other mining camps surrounded Foresthill. Volcano was one of many, and kept its name after establishing the town. Bath was located to the east and later destroyed by forest fires. Yankee Jim's was located to the northwest. Individual mining camps held names such as New Jersey, Rip, Oro, Rough and Ready, Gore, Golden Gate, Rough Gold, Alabama and Deidesheimer.
The total output of all area mines amounted to $10 million by 1868. The price of gold at the time was $16 an ounce. By 1880, 700 people lived in Forest Hill and large-scale mining continued until the turn of the century. During the 1930s and 1940s mining activity reactivated, pushing the total area yield to more than $25 million in gold. Paragon and Three Queens mine remain active.
Foresthill grew to become one of the largest towns in Placer County. It was even considered “metropolitan” by the standards of the day. In the late 1850s, the town featured hotels, stores, banks, saloon and homes surrounded by gardens and orchards. The original Forest House Hotel was a popular overnight stop and trading center for area mining towns and camps beginning in the 1850s. The hotel burned down on Christmas Day 1918 with a turkey dinner in the oven. A second Forest House Hotel later replaced the original. The Hardy-Kennedy building of 1862 was the first fireproof store in Foresthill This building, now known as the Langstaff building, is still being used by the merchants of Foresthill. Slightly less than 1,500 people live in Foresthill today, according to US Census data.
The Historical Landmark Marker is located at 24540 Main Street in Foresthill.
Within its borders picturesque farm land and Gold-Rush era towns dot the oak-covered foothills. Craggy peaks, forests, tumbling rivers and clear alpine lakes create the natural beauty of the High Country. Outdoor enthusiasts thrill at Placer County’s abundance of year-round recreational activities, while others marvel at the array of galleries, theater, musical and festival events. Shoppers love the large selection of boutiques, specialty shops and farmers markets.