Mokelumne Hill (also, Big Bar, Mok Hill, and The Hill) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Calaveras County, California, United States. The population was 774 at the 2000 census. It is commonly referred to as "Moke Hill" by locals. The town takes its name from the neighboring Mokelumne River, which in turn is Miwok for the "people of Mokel," the likely name of an Indian village in the area.
Mokelumne Hill was one of the richest gold mining towns in California. Founded in 1848 by a group of Oregonians, the placers were so rich that the miners risked starvation rather than head to Stockton to replenish their supplies (one finally did and made it rich by becoming a merchant). Soon after, gold was discovered in the nearby hills, so much so that miners were restricted to claims of 16 square feet, and yet many of those claims were reported to have paid up to $20,000.
By 1850 the town was one of the largest in the area, with its population reaching as high as 15,000 with people of all nationalities: Americans, Frenchmen, Germans, Spaniards, Chileans, Mexicans, Chinese, and others. Besides racial tensions, the easy gold attracted criminal elements, and the town gained a reputation as one of the bawdiest in the area. Notorious bandit Joaquin Murietta is said to have been a frequent visitor to the gambling venues. Violence was a major problem as well. In 1851, there was at least one homicide a week for seventeen consecutive weeks. A "vigiliance committee" was formed and by 1852, the worst of the crime was eliminated. That year, the town became the county seat.
By the 1860s the gold started to run out and the town's population and importance diminished. When San Andreas became the new county seat in 1866, Mokelumne Hill's status declined even further. The town today is a quiet place, with lots of tourism due to its historic status.
Mokelumne Hill is registered as California Historical Landmark #269.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 3.1 square miles (8.0 km²), all of it land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 774 people, 340 households, and 227 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 252.5 people per square mile (97.3/km²). There were 362 housing units at an average density of 118.1/sq mi (45.5/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 94.96% White, 0.26% Black or African American, 1.55% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 0.13% from other races, and 2.71% from two or more races. 4.26% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 340 households out of which 24.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.8% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.2% were non-families. 27.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.71.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 21.7% under the age of 18, 5.7% from 18 to 24, 21.6% from 25 to 44, 30.5% from 45 to 64, and 20.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females there were 95.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.4 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $35,526, and the median income for a family was $37,237. Males had a median income of $36,382 versus $25,385 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $17,281. About 3.7% of families and 7.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.8% of those under age 18 and 3.9% of those age 65 or over.
In the state legislature Mokelumne Hill is located in the 1st Senate District, represented by Republican Dave Cox, and in the 25th Assembly District, represented by Republican Tom Berryhill. Federally, Mokelumne Hill is located in California's 3rd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +7 and is represented by Republican Dan Lungren.