Angels Camp and Copperopolis, California (Images of America Series)

Angels Camp and Copperopolis, California (Images of America Series)

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by Judith Marvin

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The Angels Camp and Copperopolis regions offer a fascinating chapter in the history of the Mother Lode. Calaveras County's southwest corner has many tales to tell, including one of the earliest settlements of the Native American in California; two of the most famous names in Americana, Mark Twain and Black Bart; and two major events in national history, the Gold


The Angels Camp and Copperopolis regions offer a fascinating chapter in the history of the Mother Lode. Calaveras County's southwest corner has many tales to tell, including one of the earliest settlements of the Native American in California; two of the most famous names in Americana, Mark Twain and Black Bart; and two major events in national history, the Gold Rush and the Civil War. An important Gold Rush town, Angels Camp gained even greater fame through Twain's "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," which inspired the world-famous Jumping Frog Jubilee. At the same time, Copperopolis became a critical supplier of copper to the Union during the Civil War. Legendary outlaw Black Bart made his first and his last stagecoach holdup here. Ferries and railways served the region that also included the settlements of Hodson, Milton, Felix, Carson Hill, Dogtown, and Lost City.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Title: Angels, Copper story told in photos

Author: The Union Democrat

Publisher: Patty Fuller

Date: 2/13/2009

Taken around 1870, a photograph shows Manuel and Caroline Airola, both from Genoa, Italy, at their home in Robinsons Ferry, a community south of Carson Hill.

Downtown Altaville in the 1880s had a hotel, foundry, its own fairgrounds, a wagon-making shop and a dance hall, another photo and caption reveal.

These are among the subjects of "Angels Camp and Copperopolis," a new book of history told largely in photographs.

Also featured is the late Charles Stone, the self-appointed "vice-mayor" of Copperopolis, seated as he shells beans. Among quips Stone was known for: "If you've spent a summer in Copperopolis, you're not afraid of hell."

One shot from the 1920s sure to stop most page turners is that of Rasmus Nielsen, a longtime Angels Camp resident who switched from blacksmithing to show business and had his entire body tattooed.

Colorful in content, these black and whites are a sampling of 200-plus photographs filling the new book, which covers the histories of Angels Camp and Copperopolis, plus assorted smaller communities -- like Robinsons Ferry -- that are no longer on the map. Or at least new maps.

The book is part of Arcadia Publishing's "Images of America" series that profiles the past of towns around America through compilations of historic photos.

Already in the series are books on Sonora, Camp Mather, the Murphys area and northern Calaveras County.

Credited with gathering and choosing photos for the Angels Camp and Copperopolis edition are Calaveras County-based archeologists Judith Marvin and Julia Costello, and historian-writer Salvatore Manna.

"There has never been a publication on Angels Camp, Copperopolis and the southwest corner of the county that has as much history or as many photographs," said Manna.

A Burson resident, Manna said he, Marvin and Costello worked together over several months to collect photos that cover southwest Calaveras County's past -- from its first Native American residents centuries ago to the region in more recent times.

The three came to the project with decades of experience in historical research. Marvin, of Murphys, also put together the images and text for the Murphys book and the trio did the work for the northern Calaveras County book.

The vintage photos and information for their captions came mostly from the Calaveras Historical Society, Calaveras County Archives, Angels Camp Museum and descendants of pioneer families.

The chapters highlight notable eras, events and long-ago residents of the Angels Camp and Copperopolis areas. In addition to Native Americans, the book gives glimpses of the Gold Rush, mining and ranching, the Italian immigrants, the notorious Black Bart, the Jumping Frog Jubilee and the three railroads that once crossed through.

Costello said Arcadia Publishing's mostly-photos formula for history books make these publications draw a larger audience.

"People love looking pictures," the Mokelumne Hill resident said.

Title: Angels Camp and Copperopolis, a history told in photographs

Author: Joel Metzger

Publisher: Calaveras Enterprise

Date: 2/27/09

Three historians have teamed up to write a comprehensive book that reveals the historical past of Angels Camp and Copperopolis, illustrated with hundreds of photos.

"Angels Camp and Copperopolis" authors Judith Marvin, Julia Costello and Salvatore Manna, all Calaveras County residents, have completed several additional historical works focusing on the county area.

The motivation for their latest book was to complete the trilogy of books that authoritatively recount in text and photographs the history of Calaveras for the very first time, the authors said.

Research was carried out using the knowledge that Marvin and Costello have ascertained after living in the area for 30 years and through local archives, historical societies, museums, oral histories and family documents.

According to the authors, readers will be especially fascinated by the numerous photos that have not been previously published, along with local stories that are rarely heard.

The key to writing a successful book is an arduous amount of research, the authors said. Then, once surrounded by piles of collected materials, the writing begins. The story will emerge from the data and can then be presented in an accurate manner.

Marvin has served as a historian for cultural resource projects throughout California, including working for California Department of Transportation, U.S. Forest Service, California State Parks and the National Park Service.

She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a recognized expert on the state's architectural resources.

Costello has worked extensively on historic sites in the western U.S. and in the Middle East. She has served on the California State Historical Resources Commission and as president of the Society for Historical Archeology and Society for California Archaeology.

She received her Ph.D. from U.C. Santa Barbara and is partnered with Marvin in the Calaveras-based Foothill Resources Ltd., a cultural resource firm they founded in 1983 that works on projects throughout the West.

Manna is the co-author of the 2008 true-crime biography, "The King of Sting," and has penned features for national magazines, major newspapers and the California Historical Society's quarterly publication.

He graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and serves as president of the Society for the Preservation of West Calaveras History, which he founded in 2006.

If this book could have one lasting impression, the authors' desire is that readers would gain an appreciation for the history of Calaveras County and a thirst to know more.

The book is available for $21.99 at area retailers and online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing at For more information call (888) 313-2665.

"Although established on lands occupied for as many as 10,000 years by native peoples, the immigrants of the 19th century ushered in the modern era. The prosperity of the Angels Camp vicinity was first based upon the rich placer gold found along the Stanislaus River and in Coyote Creek, Carson Creek, and Angels Creek and its tributaries of China Gulch, Six Mile Creek, Cherokee Creek, Greenhorn Creek, and their drainages. For the Copperopolis area, its boom was launched with the discovery of copper ore in the 1860s, which helped support the efforts of the Union during the Civil War. Despite a great deal of gold prospecting, it was not until the 1880s that there was any appreciable amount of ore produced in that region."

- from "Angels Camp and Cooperopolis," Arcadia Publishing 2009

Product Details

Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date:
Images of America Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.58(w) x 9.18(h) x 0.39(d)

Meet the Author

With an authoritative text and vintage photographs from the Calaveras County Historical Society, Calaveras County Archives, Angels Camp Museum, descendants of pioneer families, and other sources, historian Judith Marvin, archeologist Julia Costello, and writer Salvatore Manna tell celebrated and soon-to-be-celebrated tales of this unique region in one of California's most colorful counties.

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Angels Camp and Copperopolis, California (Images of America Series) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
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