In the spring of 1848, a group of French gold miners arrived and camped in what would later be known as the Auburn Ravine. This group was on its way to the gold fields in Coloma. Gold was first discovered on May 16, 1848. Placer mining in the Auburn area was very good, and the area soon developed into a mining camp, and it was officially named Auburn in August 1849. By 1850, the town's population had grown to about 1,500 people, and in 1851, Auburn was chosen as the seat of Placer County. Gold mining operations moved up the ravine to the site of present-day Auburn. The restored Old Town has houses and retail buildings from the middle of the 19th century. The oldest fire station and the Post Office date from the Gold Rush years. Casual gold-mining accessories, as well as American Indian and Chinese artifacts, can also be viewed by visitors at the Placer County Museum. Auburn was the home and birthplace of noted science fiction and fantasy poet and writer Clarke Ashton Smith. A memorial to him is located near Old Town.
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