Cherokee Ghost Town
Cherokee had good gold deposits, but it wasn't until the 1870s, with the advent of hydraulic mining, and most notably the consolidation of the Spring Valley Hydraulic Gold Company to the largest hydraulic mining company in the world that the town really grew. By the end of the decade it had expanded into a Lower, Middle (seen here) and Upper Town, all connected by boardwalks for some 7000 people and seventeen saloons, eight hotels, two schools, two churches, several lodges, a race track, a brewery and an ice rink. Thomas Edison, who had an interest selling mining equipment, visited, setting up electricity for the homes and mines and making the first phone call in the area from Cherokee to Oroville. The Spring Valley Hydraulic controlled 18 giant monitors, which blew up Table Mountain (background), allowing the silt to flow through the Eureka Tunnel and to the sluices below, which caught some $10 million in gold. Unlike other hydraulic mining operations, most of the silt ended in the Butte Sink, limiting complaints from farmers downstream. When they finally did begin raising trouble the mine bought them out.
The height of Cherokee's fame was in 1880, when President Rutherford Hayes and later Gen William Sherman visited the famed mines of Cherokee, led by Gen John Bidwell himself. However soon after a major fire destroyed much of the city. The ban on hydraulic mining also began to take effect, and the populace began to leave. The current population is below 100, mostly clustered around Middle Town seen here.