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The California Gold Rush & Danville

Did you know that the 49ers mascot, Sourdough Sam is derived from the gold miners who came to the West to find better prospects?

The California Gold Rush is emblematic of the desire to progress, and it was the sole reason why so many people migrated to California during the mid-1800s. According to Wikipedia, once news broke that there was gold in California, more than 300,000 people (49ers) from around the U.S. and abroad came out West to try and cash in.

To put that in perspective, in 1846, San Francisco had a population of 200 residents. By 1852, it had 36,000.

This sudden uptick in the population allowed California to formally become a state much faster than it would have if a mass migration had never occurred. But it came at a cost. According to the same Wikipedia page, Native Americans suffered considerably due to starvation, being forced out of their land and untreated diseases.

These populations are still enduring the generational effects of this.

The gold rush infused the stagnant American economy with much needed money. During this time, agriculture and transportation were starting to advance. This encouraged more people to head out west causing industry, as a whole to flourish.

Danville in particular benefited greatly from the migration of miners. In 1854, two men by the name of Daniel and Andrew Inman bought 400 acres of Old Town Danville with all their earnings from mining. Not only were they able to settle successfully, they were also able to foster a community that would go on to have a blacksmith, a hotel, a general store, and eventually a post office.

This gradual evolution helped Danville prosper into the place that it is today.

Fun fact: The Inman brothers were interviewed throughout the years and said that they debated between several names for the area, and almost named it “Inmanville.” According to Daniel, they decided to name it Danville out of respect for Andrew’s mother-in-law, who was born and raised near Danville, Kentucky.

To learn more about the gold rush and its impact on Danville, pay a visit to our local Museum of the San Ramon Valley, where you can discover how life was like back then.

Here at BoBen Designs we are fortunate to call Danville our home. The legacy of our founders has made it possible for many businesses to thrive in the area.

We hope you’ll stop by to say hello and to bask in the rich history of our town.


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