Tuesday, September 7, 2010


The Gold Rush!  
What another fantastically fascinating time in our American history.  We truly are a people of adventure, courage, and commitment.

We found a handful of great reads:

  • Boom Town by Sonia Levitin.  A little girl's determination to learn how to make a pie and how it created a boom town.
  • By The Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman.  About a boy and his butler from Boston who go for the gold via the long trek around South America, and the adventures and self-discovery they encounter along the way.
  • You Wouldn't Want To Be An American Pioneer by Jacquelyn Morley is great for a humorous look at the dangers, adaptability, and resourcefulness of those who headed west.
  • Would You Go For The Gold? by Elaine Landau gives the kids a chance to think about what they may have done during the Gold Rush.
The cherry on top of our study of this era came last Saturday.  The boys, my mom, and I made our way up to Julian with the intent of doing some "gold" panning, however when we sat down for lunch, a brochure on the table invited us to visit Smith Ranch for a train and gold mine tour, so we went for it.  The Ranch is owned by an LDS family.  They were warm and friendly and had their 1 1/2 hour tour down to a science.  The highlight for me was a letter from the wife's great uncle who was a miner.  The tattered paper had been written on front and back horizontally and then turned on it's side and written vertically as well.  Why?  Because postage for the letter cost $5 in a time where a month's salary was approximately $17 and, as mentioned before, being resourceful was at the forefront of these folk's mind.   

It was an outstanding time!  We even donned hardhats to venture into a damp, cool mine which was actually quite refreshing since it was a warm hot Julian day.  The kids bumped their way into the mine via train car...smiles in abundance.  We panned for "gold" and the kids exchanged their find at the assayer's office for licorice.

Ready to go in the mine!

I highly recommend this super fun time.

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