Gold along the Kern River

When gold was found along the Kern River in early 1855 it set off a great excitement among the miners and men flocked to the area. Over the next few months 5,000 men, many leaving productive claims, made their way to this new territory only to meet with disappointment and were forced to return from where they came poorer for their trouble.

Kern River Valley by Albert Bierstadt

The Kern River and its branches ran from near Mount Whitney. About thirty miles north of Tehachapi Pass the town of Keyesville grew in what would prove to be the prime mining district. Then the river went off southwest to the swamps and sloughs around Kern and Buena Vista Lakes and continued on in a number of sloughs, one known as Kern River Slough, to Tulare Lake.

The first of the placer mines were worked near Keyesville and a number of quartz veins were later found nearby and at a place called Greenhorn Gulch and a few other places. While there was gold found in almost all directions it was not as rich or as easy to mine as in other places. Some men did make wages and continued to work their claims for years, but it was soon acknowledged that the Kern River reports had been greatly exaggerated.



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