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Oak of the Golden Dream
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Oak of the Golden Dream - Placerita CanyonNatural Area

All photographs taken by Kenneth A. Larson. All rights reserved. © 2004 - 2017.


Everyone knows that the first gold discovered in California was at Sutter's Mill. It is not so well known that the first place in California where gold was discovered was actually four hundred miles south of Sutter's Mill, not far from Los Angeles. The first gold discovered in California was in the Placerita Canyon area near Santa Clarita, California. In Placerita Canyon, Jose Francisco de Garcia Lopez y Arballo had a dream while napping under an oak tree on March 9, 1842. Upon awaking, he remembered that he had promised his wife to gather some wild onions for dinner. While gathering the onions from around an old oak, he noticed gold particles clinging to the roots of the bulbs. He rushed home and showed the gold to friends and relatives. The gold was taken to Los Angeles to be assayed and was pronounced of high quality. This set off California's first gold rush and the second largest gold rush in California.. It is estimated that $80,000 in gold was recovered as a result of this discovery. The Oak of the Golden Dream is still here at the end of a short easy trail.

There is a Nature Center and several other trails. The Walker Ranch section is a miles further up the road and connected with a trail. There are no longer any ranch buildings at the Walker Ranch site, however a small cabin, part of a larger structure, is a few hundred feet from the Nature Center. This was used by the Walkers during winter because it was closer to the school for their 14 children.

A guided nature walk is at 11:00 AM and an animal talk at 1:00 PM. The waterfall trail ends in a waterfall, but only for a short time after a big rain. California State Landmark Number 168.

Location:
Placerita Canyon State and County Park, Placerita Canyon Rd, 4.6 mi NE of Newhall. The Oak of the Golden Dream is on the north side of the road, accessible by a trail.
Directions:
State Route14 or Sierra Highway to Placerita Canyon. East on Placerita Canyon to Placerita State Park.
Plaque: SE corner I-5 and Lyons Ave, Newhall
Oak of the Gold Dream
Photo date: 6-14-03.
Placerita Canyon State Park
Photo date: 6-14-03.

Plaque Inscription:
Francisco López made California's first authenticated gold discovery on March 9, 1842. While gathering wild onions near an oak tree in Placerita Canyon he found gold particles clinging to the roots of the bulbs. The San Fernando placers and nearby San Feliciano Canyon were worked by Sonoran miners using panning, sluicing and dry washing methods. Lopez's find predated James Marshall strike at Sutter's Mill by six years.


Marker at Lyons and I-5. Photo date: 6-25-06.

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This page last updated: Saturday, 06-Jul-2013 19:30:50 EDT

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