JULIAN–In the winter of 1869 when former slave Fred Coleman discovered gold in a small creek just outside of Julian, it set off a frenzy that became San Diego’s own gold rush. Within a few weeks, over 800 prospectors from all over the country were headed to Julian in search of gold. The first producing gold mine, the Washington Mine, was discovered in February 1870 and within days over 40 other claims were registered. This year marks the 140th anniversary of the Julian Gold Rush, a pivotal part in the development of San Diego, and will be the focus of this year’s Julian Gold Rush Days in June.
The gold rush lasted off and on for about thirty years, producing almost $2 million in gold (about $150 million in today’s market). While other nearby gold mining town such as Banner City, Branson City, Cuyamaca City, and Eastwood disappeared over time, Julian continued to thrive with the production of its newest asset—apples.
Julian Gold Rush Days, which takes place Father’s Day weekend, June 19-20, celebrates the discovery of gold in this mountain community with a weekend of events including gold panning, living history demonstrations, gold mine tours, book signings, face painting, old fashioned games, historic skits, and more activities for the entire family.
“Julian Gold Rush Days is a great opportunity to ‘turn back the clock’ and give visitors an idea of what Julian was like in its early days,” according to Tracy Turner, president of Julian’s Merchants Association. “It’s entertainment for the whole family!”
Events will be produced throughout the Julian area, including Wynola. For more information, visit www.julianmerchants.org. Julian Gold Rush Days is sponsored by The Julian Merchants Association, a community group representing more than 90 merchants in the greater Julian area — Julian, Wynola and Santa Ysabel in San Diego County’s eastern mountains.