Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Gold!!! That was the cry that started a flood of adventurers to Weaverville and Trinity County in 1848. In short order Weaverville (named by the drawing of straws for one of the earlier settlers) grew into a town of over 2,000 including a sizeable Chinatown. Today there are 3,554 people who make their home in Weaverville but only 14,177 in the entire county which covers 3,178 square miles.

In his book “Lost Horizons”, James Hilton likened Weaverville’s quaint downtown to Shangri-La, “that strange and wonderful somewhere which is not a place but a state of mind.” And, with a setting in the Trinity Alps, surrounded by majestic forests and numerous mountain lakes, it is easy to understand why Hilton was enamored with the town.

My tour guides, Debbie DeCoito and Cyndy Montoya, both of SMART, told me of the locals who still prospect for gold in the hills and creeks of the county. Cyndy told me, “I know of one woman who put three kids through college and is now doing the same with her grandchildren from prospecting. We’ve got a regular trade in gold flakes and I know of at least five in Hayfork who do it on a regular basis.”

The Trinity Players is a local performing arts group that has completely redone an old warehouse, converting it into a theater for local performances and an occasional visiting artist. Plans are to add a coffee house in the building, helping to create that certain sense of place and a gathering spot in rural CA.

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