Guide - Placerville

Placerville Guide - History

Local Government

Wine production

The region east of Placerville, known as Apple Hill, is increasingly becoming a center for quality wine production. Notable wineries in the region include Crystal Basin, Jodar, Boeger, Lava Cap and Granite Springs. The region is "renown for making vibrantly flavorful, distinctly delicious wines, grown in the dramatic elevations of the Sierra Nevada."


Apple Hill

With over 50 ranches, the Apple Hill Growers Association (AHGA) area has been a family destination since 1964. That's 50 years! A family trip to visit the Apple Hill Growers means so much more than just apples and pies.  It's memories that will last a lifetime! It's berry farms, u-pick apple ranches, and kid-friendly activities.  For the grown-ups, it's fine wines and handcrafted beers in an incredible Sierra-soaked setting.



Throughout history, several famous entrepreneurs have conducted business on Main Street. Phillip Armour (meat packer), Mark Hopkins (railroad financier), John Studebaker (auto maker), and Snowshoe Thompson (mail-carrier through the Sierras) were among the well-known shopkeepers on Main Street.

Arts Council- El Dorado County -
Gold Bug Mine & Park-
Gold Discovery
Wagon Train - Highway 50 Association -
Jeepers Jamboree -
Museum & Historical Society- El Dorado County,
National Pony Express Association
Placerville Arts Association
Placerville Downtown Association
Rod & Gun Club- El Dorado -
El Dorado Western Railway Foundation



Bell Tower

An important historic landmark that still remains on Main Street is the Bell Tower, standing as a monument to the city’s volunteer firemen. The Bell, placed in the tower in the plaza in 1865, was used as an alarm system to call out the firefighters. This tower has watched most of Placerville's history pass beneath it for well over I 00 years. It has been remodeled, relocated, and most recently, renovated. Today it proudly stands as a monument to honor our city's volunteer firemen. The history of the Bell Tower began back in l856. Three fires that year in April, July and August, claimed most of Placerville's business section. The need for an alarm system to call the volunteer fire department was obvious, and a bell was ordered from England. Cast in 1860, the bell arrived in Placerville in 1865. The city gave it's approval to place the bell in a tower in the plaza. All this was done at a cost of $380.00. Today, the Bell Tower serves as a gathering place for parades, celebrations, and other Historic Main Street events

Placerville is a historic community from the gold-rush days, and accordingly there are many old buildings from this period. A walk down Main Street also reveals many historical markers, signifying spots of certain events or persons of importance during this period. Placerville was also on the line of the Pony Express, a short-lived mail carrier service that connected California to the Midwest and East (basically from Sacramento to St. Joseph, Missouri).
Historically, Placerville was often referred to by the name "Hangtown," due to the frequent hangings that occurred in the lawless area. Those traveling in the area can still see the old Hangman's platform that was used for public hangings. It can also be seen on the street markers in town.

Placerville is home to the Mountain Democrat newspaper and Marshall Medical Center.

The Southern Pacific branch line was purchased from the Union Pacific in 1996 for $14 million by the Joint Powers Authority consisting of Sacramento County, Folsom, and El Dorado County. The line is being restored to run historic excursion trains from Folsom to Placerville on a total of 35 miles (56 km) of track.

Placerville has cool, wet winters and warm, mostly dry summers. Average January temperatures are a maximum of 53.4 °F (11.9 °C) and a minimum of 32.5 °F (0.3 °C). Average July temperatures are a maximum of 92.7 °F (33.7 °C) and a minimum of 57.2 °F (14.0 °C). Annually, there are an average of 65.7 days with highs of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher and 61.3 days with lows of 32 °F (0 °C) or lower. The record high temperature was 114 °F (46 °C) on July 4, 1911. The record low temperature was 8 °F (−13 °C) on December 9, 1972.

Average annual precipitation in Placerville is 38.11 inches (968 mm). There an average of 66 days with measurable precipitation. The wettest year was 1983 with 74.55 inches (1,894 mm) and the driest year was 1976 with 11.85 inches (301 mm). The most precipitation in one month was 23.29 inches (592 mm) in December 1955. The most precipitation in 24 hours was 6.22 inches (158 mm) on February 14, 2000.

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