County of the Month
Congratulations to our April County of the Month, Calaveras! Formed in 1850, Calaveras County boasted a population of 45,578 people as of 2010. In addition to having historic preservation organizations, Calaveras is also home to many historic mining operations, the infamous Jumping Frog Jubilee and several groves of giant sequoias! If you are looking for exciting local history resources in the California History Section's rich collections, then check out what we have for this county!
Did you know that Jackson became Calaveras County’s seat for about a year because its residents stole the county archives? It’s true! In 1851, the residents of Jackson snuck into the county courthouse in Double Springs and stole the archives. Because they had the county records, everybody then had to go to Jackson to conduct government business. Jackson lost its position to Mokelumne Hill in 1852 in an outrageous case of voter fraud.
Did you know that the remains of one Calaveras County resident became the focus of an early evolutionary controversy? It’s true! In 1866, state geologist, J. D. Whitney declared that the recently discovered “Calaveras Skull” had belonged to an early form of human alive during the Pliocene era. In fact, the skull was modern, a prank played by a few locals on the entire scientific community. This semi-open secret was later memorialized in Bret Harte’s poem, “Pliocene Skull.”
Want to learn more? Check out our County of the Month Research Guide!
In August of 2017, in an effort to better support the work of local governments and historical societies in promoting and preserving the past, the California History Section started the County of the Month program. This recognition honors the diverse character of California's many counties while providing research tips to individuals interested in finding out more about California local history. If you have any questions about this program, please feel free to contact us.