Placerville (formerly Old Dry Diggings, Dry Diggings, and Hangtown) is the county seat of El Dorado County, California. The population was 10,389 at the 2010 census, up from 9,610 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Placerville, is located on U.S. Route 50 where it crosses State Route 49 and is the location of several traffic signals along the highway, which is otherwise a freeway.
After the discovery of gold in nearby Coloma, California by James W. Marshall in 1848 sparked the California Gold Rush, the small town now known as Placerville was known as Dry Diggin's after the manner in which the miners moved cartloads of dry soil to running water to separate the gold from the soil. Later in 1849, the town earned its most common historical name, "Hangtown", because of the numerous hangings that had occurred there. By 1850, the temperance league and a few local churches had begun to request that a more friendly name be bestowed upon the town. The name was not changed until 1854 when the City of Placerville was incorporated. At its incorporation Placerville was the third largest town in California. In 1857 the county seat was then moved from Coloma to Placerville, where it remains today.
Placerville was a central hub for the Mother Lode region's mining operations. The town had many services, including transportation (of people and goods), lodging, banking, and had a market and general store. The history of hard-rock mining is evidenced by an open and accessible Gold Bug Park & Mine, now a museum with tours and books.
The Southern Pacific Railroad once had a branch line that extended from Sacramento to Placerville. The track was abandoned in the 1980s. The Camino, Placerville and Lake Tahoe Railroad (now abandoned) also operated an 8-mile (13 km) shortline that operated between Camino, California and Placerville until June 17, 1986. As of March 29, 2007, 52 miles (84 km) of the right-of-way have been purchased by the city of Folsom, and eighteen miles (29 km) of track have been restored. Plans are in motion for a tourist train along the route by 2015.
The town's first post office opened in 1850.
Placerville is now registered as California Historical Landmark #701.
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[ed] for making vibrantly flavorful, distinctly delicious wines, grown in the dramatic elevations of the Sierra Nevada."