Jenny Lind, located on the north bank of the Calaveras River, was a placer mining town as early as 1849. Most of the placer mining was done along the hillsides above the river, and later the river was mined with dredgers. In 1864, the population was said to be 400, with half of the population of Chinese and Mexican immigrants. Located on the main road from Stockton, it was also an important freighting center for the area.
The town was originally names Dry Diggins, but was renamed in the early 1850s to Jenny Lind, partly for the pioneer Dr. John Y. Lind and partly for the famous Swedish singer Jenny Lind (though the singer never visited the town, or California).
Dredging was the main from of gold mining from the early 1900s until the onset of World War II, when mining operations declined. Jenny Lind is now an unincorporated town, though a few buildings from the past and a cemetery remain as a reminder of its early history.
On April 4, 1987, a marker was erected by the Native Daughters of the Golden West as part of their marker series reads:
"Settled in the 1840s as a flourishing gold mining, cattle ranching, and farming community. Dedicated on the 100th Anniversary of Joaquin Parlor No. 5, Stockton, Native Daughter's of the Golden West."
Jenny Lind is located on Milton Road (County Road J1-4), 8 miles south of Valley Springs.
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.
Calaveras is a Spanish word meaning "skull." The name was first given to the river because of the great quantities of human skulls found along the lower reaches of the river.
Calaveras County is famous for its lode and placer mines, and the largest gold nugget from the United States was taken from the Morgan Mine at Carson Hill in 1854, weighing 214 pounds. For many years it was the principal copper-producing county in California. Cement deposits from its vast limestone deposits has become one of the county's major industries in recent years.