Dry Diggins

Dry Diggins, Hangtown Gold Camp 1860s
Dry Diggins, Hangtown Gold Camp 1860s

Back in 1848, the year it was founded, the California town was called “Dry Diggins” because of the gold mining efforts nearby.  That lasted about a year; folks renamed it “Hangtown” because of its violent reputation—although records indicate that only 3 men were given the noose there.

But even that name—still around in Western lore—was gone before long, a victim to society and culture which demanded a more genteel title for the place.  In 1854, the town of Placerville was incorporated.  Today, the place is registered as a California Historical Landmark.

What do you think?

Mark Boardman

Mark Boardman is the features editor for True West Magazine as well as the editor of The Tombstone Epitaph. He also serves as pastor for Poplar Grove United Methodist Church in Indiana.