Vallecito


This Gold Rush-era community is a rural neighborhood that includes the 1850s Dinkerspiel Store. The Murphy Brothers discovered gold here in 1848 and then went on to richer diggings in the nearby town that bears their name. Mexican miners came to the abandoned camp, which they re-named Vallecito, meaning small valley in Spanish.

Vallecito was one of California’s important early-day mining towns. Gold was discovered here by the Murphy brothers in 1849, and it was originally called Murphys Diggings, which became Murphys Old Diggings when they moved on to greener pastures at Murphys New Diggings which became the town of Murphys. The town was revitalized in 1852 when extremely rich deposits of gold were discovered running practically through the center of town. A post office was established in 1854, which is still in use today. After splitting off from the Carson party at Angels Creek, John and Daniel Murphy headed east looking for likely prospects. The brothers reached Coyote Creek in October of 1848, and after a few pans showing good color, they set up camp and christened the site Murphys Diggings. The boys worked the stream for a few months and then decided to move on and search for better diggings. They eventually settled down about six miles away, where they founded the camp now known as Murphys, after which their original camp was referred to as Murphys Old Diggings.

Mexican miners began to drift into the abandoned camp, which they re-named Vallecito, meaning small valley in Spanish. They built their camp in the typical fashion of their homeland, starting with a central plaza around which they put up their first buildings, brush ramadas and canvas tents. More substantial adobes and stone buildings soon followed as the town began to grow. The quiet, sleepy camp was abruptly shaken in 1852, when extremely rich deposits of gold were discovered running practically through the center of town. The camp boomed and changed so drastically, that within a year it hardly resembled its former self. Several saloons and fandangos were among the first new enterprises to appear, closely followed by provision stores, boarding houses, blacksmiths, livery stables, a dry goods store, a school, a church, and several fraternal organizations which included the Sons of Temperance, the Masons, and the Odd Fellows. Due in part to the large number of miners in the area, a post office was established on August 17 of 1854, which is still in service today.