What is a Bar?

    A river bar is an elvated region of dirt, sand, and gravel that has been built up over time. They are mostly found in the slowest flowing part of the river. Heavy objects like gravel and gold would be deposited in these bars as the sediment was washed down from the mountains during the rainy season and the Spring snow melt.

    In the early days of the California Gold Rush, miners flocked to the river bars in hope of finding gold. Numerous camps and small mining towns grew up along the river bars. Today some of these camps are remembered in the names of roads and places such as Horseshoe Bar road, Rattlesnake Bar, or Negro Bar State Park.

A river bar on the South Fork of the American river in Coloma, Ca. Where James Marshall's discovery set off the California Gold Rush.

Beal's Bar

    The first "bar" mining camp above the point where the North fork and South fork of the American river meet was Beal's Bar. Beal's Bar was part of the Pioneer Express trail which ran between the gold mining camps up to Auburn. It became an important center for trade between the mining camps. While many camps came and went, Beal's Bar was still going strong in 1853. At one point the old town was moved up to higher ground and the original site was dug up in the search for more gold.