Coloma (formerly, Colluma and Culloma) is a small unincorporated former town in El Dorado County, California, USA. It is approximately 36 miles (58 km) northeast of Sacramento, California. Coloma is most noted for being the site where James W. Marshall first discovered gold in California, at Sutter's Mill on January 24, 1848, leading to the California Gold Rush. Today it is known as a ghost town and the centerpiece of the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. Coloma was designated a National Historic Landmark District on July 4, 1961
It lies at an elevation of 764 feet (233 m).
Coloma grew around Sutter's Mill following the discovery of gold. A post office was established in 1849 under the name Culloma, changing it to Coloma in 1851.
While some people still live in this unincorporated area, Coloma is considered something of a ghost town, as civic buildings such as the jail have been abandoned and left to decay, and other buildings from its boom era (1847-1852) have been converted into museums and other historical displays. The foundation of Sutters Mill remains, along with a nearby reconstruction.
Currently the town counts approximately 300 inhabitants, mainly consisting of some hopeful modern-day miners who pan the American River and others who run the museums and tours in the area. In fact, Coloma's economy is based on the money generated from its museums and students who take field trips with their schools to learn about the California Gold Rush. The local economy is also supported by various businesses and organizations tied to rafting and kayaking the South Fork of the American River. While the water sports are a seasonal industry, the class II-III rapids attract tourists from all over the world.
The name comes from the original natives' (Nisenan Native Americans) name for the valley Coloma is in: Cullumah, meaning "beautiful." Coloma is on the South Fork of the American River that runs through the valley, and was built on an original Native American village of Koloma.
In the state legislature Coloma is located in the 1st Senate District, represented by Republican Dave Cox, and in the 4th Assembly District, represented by Republican Ted Gaines. Federally, Coloma is located in California's 4th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +11 and is represented by Republican Tom McClintock.
Coloma street scene
Coloma street scene