Site of the first major gold rush to California's eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada, Dog Town derived its name from a popular miners' term for camps with huts or hovels. Ruins, lying close to the cliff bordering Dog Town Creek are all that remain of the makeshift dwellings which here formed part of "diggins".
[Supporting Marker to the Left of the Main Marker]:Boom and Bust
Boom and Bust "Here today, gone tomorrow" describes many early mining towns - Dogtown was no exception. Miners rushed to the eastern Sierra when gold was discovered in the waters of Dog Creek in the 1850s. The largest nugget ever found on the eastern slope was said to have come from here. Despite the hopeful start, these gold deposits were not very extensive and within a couple of years "placer excitement" shifted to Monoville, a new strike just a few miles south of here.
Many hopeful parties have tried to make a go of the remaining placer deposits. In the late 1860's and early 1870's, Chinese families occupied stone huts, planted gardens, and lived off what little gold they could find. As late as the early 1900's, an unproductive dredging operation was in place.
Though never very profitable, Dogtown was significant as the first placer settlement on the eastern slope of the Sierra, bringing attention to more profitable areas such as Bodie, Aurora, Masonic, and Virginia City. In some areas, mining continues today, adding to the wealth of gold and silver found in these lonely hills.
[Supporting Marker to the Right of the Main Marker]:Edge of a Dream
Under favorable circumstances it snows at least once every single month of the year in the little town of Mono. So uncertain is the climate in summer that a lady that goes out visiting cannot hope to be prepared for all emergencies unless she takes her fan under one arm and her snowshoes under the other. Mark Twain
Visions of "streets paved with gold" lured many fortune hunters to the Sierra Nevada during the mid to late 1800s. Thousands of gold seekers roamed the hills braving the elements. Life was challenging. Bitter winter winds dropped temperatures well below zero and snowfall was often several feet deep. "Homes" with little or no insulation neither kept the wind out, nor the warmth in. Shortages of provisions, difficult travel conditions, illness, and isolations were some of the many challenges faced by these hardy prospectors and pioneers. Most of the men and women were financially unsuccessful - a lucky few actually reached their dreams.
[Both supporting markers include an Eastern Sierra Scenic Byways emblem]