Old Town Auburn banner
Auburn Slogan
Old Town Auburn

History                More detailed history...

Gold discovered at Coloma in January 1848 by James Marshall who was building a lumber mill on the South Fork of the American River for John Sutter.

Gold was discovered by Claude Chana in a ravine at the future site of the town of Auburn. Dr. Fox, a local dentist in Auburn, is famous for his large concrete statues and this image is of his Claude Chana statue which is one of first things to be seen upon entering Old Town Auburn from Interstate 80.

Gold discoveries in 1848 in Mother Lode locations along the western slope of Sierra Nevada Mountains lead to people flocking to California from all over the world in 1849, these people were known as '49ers.

John S. Wood mines in Auburn Ravine at the site known as "Woods Dry Diggins".

William Gwynn and H. M. House established the first general stores in Auburn.

Dr. John Riggs Crandall, church leader and businessman, arrives in Auburn.

California is designated as the 31st State of the United States of America.

Placer County formed from southern parts of both Sutter and Yuba counties which were two of the original counties created in 1850.

Auburn becomes the County Seat for the newly formed Placer County. For a short time, Auburn had been County Seat of Sutter County.

First building in Auburn used for Court House was a crude log structure located on Court Street.

Placer Herald first publication date of September 11, 1852.

Auburn Lodge No. 7 of the I.O.O.F. located on Washington Street in brick building.

Second building used as Court House was built for specific purpose in 1853. The new courthouse was a two story wooden structure measuring about 40 by 60 feet. This photo shows the courthouse on right and new jail which was built a little later. The new courthouse was first used in December 1853, but this photo has a date of 1854.

National Circus and Hippodrome stopped in Auburn in April.

Fire sweeps through wooden buildings in Auburn.

Last official public hanging took place in the Plaza on June 06, 1856. Subsequent official hangings were not public and then there were some lynchings that were done in the open.

Fire sweeps through wooden buildings in Auburn. The 1855 and 1857 fires had many Auburn business men re-build using brick. One of the more famous early brick buildings was the Wilment Store at corner of Commercial and Court Streets. The Auburn chapter of the Native Sons of the Golden West meet in the second story rooms.

A brick jail building was built adjacent to the wooden court house on Court Street.

Joseph Andrew Rowe brings circus to Auburn on April 17th. Circus sets up on an empty lot on Sacramento Street. This lot became known as the Circus Lot.

Auburn Ravine Turnpike constructed. It was 12 miles long running along Gold Hill in Auburn Ravine through Auburn to Junction House.

The James Block was built of brick on a mortared rock foundation and currently houses the Old Town Auburn Post Office. It is one of the oldest in California housed in its original building and the oldest continually operated post office west of the Mississippi.

Julius P. Brooks opens a bank and exchange office in Van Maters brick building.

John R. Gwynn opens a family store in the Holmes brick building.

The American Civil War started in 1861. Union Saloon name on round corner brick building showed support for the Union side of conflict. This photo was taken in 1934 and shows deterioration of brick facade.

Auburn was incorporated for the first time.

Ad for D. W. Lubeck's dry goods store on Main Street.

Orlean's Hotel relocated to building which had been built earlier in 1850s. Orlean's Hotel building was torn down in 1859. A Valero Gas Station now occupies this property.

Central Pacific Railroad reaches Auburn. First depot is a crude structure. The tracks bypass Old Town Auburn area and the depot is built on hill about a mile and half from Old Town Auburn. The location of C.P.R.R. depot causes Auburn business men to consider relocating closer to depot. This leads to a split in Auburn. The depot is soon to be known as being located in East Auburn. East Auburn gets its own post office in 1902.

Murder of merchant William McDaniel in his store.

City fathers had the Act of Incorporation repealed to avoid having to pay debt for failed railroad. Second Incorporation instituted in 1888.

Dan Castello's Circus and Menagerie advertisement for performance in Placer Herald.

Contractor busy making plats of town survey to comply with law. This will allow people to secure "government titles to" property.

Official Map of Auburn. Judge Spear able to provide title for one dollar to property owners.

Auburn restaurant, Deutsches Gasthaus on the Plaza adjacent to the Post Office has ad in Placer Herald.

Governor Haight and others spoke for three hours on the Plaza in August. Haight lost to Booth in September election.

The original location of the Placer County Bank was in a building on Commercial Street. This photograph shows the name “Placer County Bank” in lettering above safe door.

Old Town’s Firehouse constructed, currently one of Auburn’s most famous attractions. Shown here in its original location prior to being relocated further East to get it out of the way of the Freeway’s off ramp.

Construction of large brick "City Hall" is started on Washington Street at foot of Snowden Hill. The building was built with private funds and was never used by Auburn City Officials.

Construction of new Placer County Courthouse is underway.

The new Placer County Courthouse was started in 1894 and was dedicated in 1898. This photo of the new Courthouse was taken in 1908 after the Neff Fountain was installed in the street in front of the Courthouse.

Large brick building known as City Hall burns. Portions of the brick walls that remained standing are now incorporated into the Bootlegger's Restaurant.

Southern Pacific Railroad builds trestle across road between Auburn and Sacramento Streets. Trestle carries second set of mainline tracks which are dedicated to East Bound trains. Another train depot for Auburn was built along tracks on Nevada Street. Thus, Old Town Auburn had a closer depot, but East Auburn still continued growing. This image shows the S.P. construction crane used to build trestle.

Lincoln Highway Association formed. Many main streets in cities across the nation change name to Lincoln Way or Lincoln Street. Main Street in Old Town Auburn soon has its name changed to Lincoln Way.

The Auburn Women's Improvement Club had a water fountain erected in the center of the Plaza. The fountain was torn down in 1950.

President Eisenhower signs Federal Highway bill. This legislation leads to building of "Freeways" all across the nation. Highway 40 through Auburn is to be widened and designated as part of Interstate 80.

Thank you to Art Sommers for this history timeline and images from his book, Images of America-Auburn, available at the Placer County Courthouse Gift Shop and many Auburn book stores.

Links to discover more about Auburn history:

For you Auburn history buffs, you may be interested in checking out the archives of the Placer County Voice of History Newsletter here: Voice-of-History

Copyright 2006, Old Town Auburn Business Association - All rights reserved

Home| Map/Guide| History| Event Calendar| Visitor Center| Contact Us
OTBA| Videos| Mobile| Vendors| Blog| Tickets

Auburn Weather Weather in Auburn, CA

Thank you for visiting historic Old Town Auburn
Old Town Business Association - 1583 Lincoln Way, Auburn, CA 95603
For information: 530-451-6822

Copyright 2006, Old Town Auburn Business Association - All rights reserved   Site Maintained by Mike OBrien at www.ideaweb.com