Copperopolis is a census-designated place (CDP) in Calaveras County, California, United States. The population was 2,363 at the 2000 census. The town is located along State Route 4 and is registered as California Historical Landmark #296.
Unlike most of the other mining towns in the county, Copperopolis' claim to fame isn't gold, but copper. It was founded in 1860 by William K. Reed, Dr. Allen Blatchly, and Thomas McCarty, at the site of the second big discovery of copper ore in the region (the first was nearby Telegraph City). The town grew rapidly, as the need for copper during the Civil War to make bullets was great. The copper was sent to Stockton and then on to San Francisco, where it was loaded onto ships and taken around Cape Horn before finally arriving in smelters on the East Coast.
After the war ended, the expense of mining and shipping copper proved to be too high and the population dwindled as the mines closed. However, a Boston company purchased the mines in the 1880s and mining operations resumed. The town went through boom periods during the two World Wars, when demand for copper went up again. By the time the mines closed in 1946, according to the U.S. Bureau of Mines, they had produced 72,598,883 pounds of copper worth over $12 million. No copper mining has been done since.
The first post office was established in 1861.
Copperopolis has four buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places:
Copperopolis Congregational Church
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 22.1 square miles (57.4 km²), of which, 21.5 square miles (55.7 km²) of it is land and 0.6 square miles (1.7 km²) of it (2.89%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,363 people, 959 households, and 717 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 109.9 people per square mile (42.4/km²). There were 1,374 housing units at an average density of 63.9/sq mi (24.7/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 90.22% White, 0.68% Black or African American, 1.61% Native American, 1.90% Asian, 0.17% Pacific Islander, 1.65% from other races, and 3.77% from two or more races. 8.55% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 959 households out of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.0% were married couples living together, 8.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.2% were non-families. 19.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.81.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 23.0% under the age of 18, 5.1% from 18 to 24, 22.2% from 25 to 44, 31.3% from 45 to 64, and 18.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 98.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.3 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $41,677, and the median income for a family was $46,339. Males had a median income of $42,125 versus $30,833 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $23,530. About 8.6% of families and 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.3% of those under age 18 and 9.4% of those age 65 or over.
In the state legislature Copperopolis is located in the 1st Senate District, represented by Republican Dave Cox, and in the 25th Assembly District, represented by Republican Tom Berryhill. Federally, Copperopolis is located in California's 3rd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +7 and is represented by Republican Dan Lungren.