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Location, Climate, A Rich Heritage
Placerville is the county seat of El Dorado County and full of California Gold Country charm. The history of Placerville began with the 'rush for gold' to California in the 1840's. The highly publicized discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in Coloma (only 10 miles from Placerville) in 1848 resulted in the migration of thousands of fortune-seekers to Northern California in the mid 1800's. The town was named after the placer deposits found in the river bed between Spanish Ravine and the town plaza. During the gold rush, Placerville became an important supply center for the surrounding mining camps. In its early days, Placerville was often referred to by the name 'Hangtown,' due to the frequent hangings that occurred in the lawless area. Those traveling in the area can still see the old Hangman's platform that was used for public hangings. It can also be seen on the street markers in town. An important historic landmark that still remains on Main Street is the Bell Tower, standing as a monument to the city's volunteer firemen. The Bell, placed in the tower in the plaza in 1865, was used as an alarm system to call out the firefighters. The tower has been remodeled, relocated, and most recently, renovated. Today, the Bell Tower serves as a gathering place for parades, celebrations, and other Historic Main Street events. The City of Placerville is centrally located between Sacramento, the State Capital, and South Lake Tahoe, world-famous recreation center. Situated above the fog line and below the snow line, Placerville boasts an ideal climate with four distinct seasons. Accessibility to Placerville is via State Highway 49 and U.S. Highway 50, along one of the most traveled corridors in California. Placerville's treasured heritage is reflected in the historical, nineteenth century architecture of its downtown core. In addition, Placerville is the County seat and the center of financial, commercial, civic, and government activity.
Serving as a 'hub' for many nearby destinations and activities, Placerville is well situated. Historic Coloma, the American River, and the El Dorado National Forest are all located within minutes of downtown Placerville. The region east of Placerville, popularly known as Apple Hill and Pleasant Valley, is increasingly becoming a center for quality wine production. The wine region is officially designated as the El Dorado AVA. The largest wineries in the area are Boeger, Lava Cap and Madrona, but most of the 30 plus wineries surrounding Placerville are family owned and smaller in wine grape and wine production. The region is renowned for making vibrantly flavorful, distinctly delicious wines, grown in the dramatic elevations of the Sierra Nevada. Whitewater rafting, hiking, swimming, picnicking, gold panning, fishing and camping fill the spring and summer months in El Dorado County. The beautiful Sierra Nevada mountain range welcomes winter visitors with pure snow sporting pleasure. The future of Placerville's business economy will continue to be strengthened and infused by these established and newly developing areas of opportunity surrounding the hub. Within the hub, local merchants, property owners, and Government officials are striving to ensure economic vitality for Placerville. These groups are working together on business improvement and revitalization projects to preserve, promote, and enhance the quality of life for all in the community. Location, climate, a rich heritage, and a high level of commitment and pride have allowed Placerville to emerge as 'the destination' in El Dorado County.