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Breath-taking scenery, a rich history and year-round recreation are just a few of the reasons more than 360,000 people call Placer County home.
Placer County took its name from the Spanish word for sand or gravel deposits containing gold. Miners washed away the gravel, leaving the heavier gold, in a process known as ''placer mining.''
Placer County was home to the Maidu and Miwok Native Americans for hundreds of years. The discovery of gold in 1848 brought tens of thousands of miners from around the world, in addition to many more thousands intending to provide goods and services to the miners. Only three years after the discovery of gold, the fast-growing county was formed from portions of Sutter and Yuba counties on April 25, 1851 with Auburn as the county seat.
Gold mining was a major industry through the 1880s, but gradually the new residents turned to farming the fertile foothill soil, harvesting timber and working for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Auburn was settled when Claude Chana discovered gold in Auburn Ravine in May 1848 and later became a shipping and supply center for the surrounding gold camps. The cornerstone of Placer's beautiful and historic courthouse, which is clearly visible from Interstate 80 through Auburn, was laid on July 4, 1894. The building itself was renovated during the late 1980s and continues to serve the public today with courtrooms, a historic sheriff's office and the Placer County Museum.