Saturday, November 8, 2008

Gold Fever Reaches Monterey

In April and May of 1848, everybody in San Francisco heard about the gold strike in the Sacramento Valley. Monterey, the capital, "somehow remained ignorant all this time of its country's transformation," writes historian J.S. Holliday. This changed abruptly on May 29. A Monterey resident recorded the moment: "Our town was startled out of its quiet dream today." Soon thereafter, a large group of people left Monterey for the gold fields – some in wagons, some on horseback, and "some on crutches," said an observer. August 27: "I am almost crazy," writes a local resident, "I have the gold fever shocking bad." April 1849: "There are several pianos (in Monterey)," notes a resident, "and next to nobody to play." All the piano players were searching for gold.

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