Vallecito, California

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Coordinates: 38°05′25″N 120°28′25″W / 38.09028°N 120.47361°W / 38.09028; -120.47361

Vallecito ("Little Valley" in Spanish; formerly, Murphy's Old Diggings, Valacito, Vallicita, Vallicito) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Calaveras County, California, United States. The population was 427 at the 2000 census. The town is registered as California Historical Landmark #273. Nearby is Moaning Cavern, the largest cave chamber in California, which the Miwok Indians used as a burial ground.

Contents

History

Vallecito was one of California's important early-day mining towns. Gold was discovered here by the Murphy brothers in 1849, and it was originally called "Murphys Diggings," which became "Murphys Old Diggings" when they moved on to greener pastures at "Murphys New Diggings" (which became the town of Murphys). The town was revitalized in 1852 when extremely rich deposits of gold were discovered running practically through the center of town. A post office was established in 1854, which is still in use today.

The Vallecito Bell, cast at Troy, New York in 1853, was brought around Cape Horn. It was purchased from the ship with funds contributed by early-day residents and brought to Vallecito to be erected in a large oak tree in 1854. It was used to call the people together until February 16, 1939, when a severe wind blew the old tree down.

The first post office opened in 1854 as Vallicita; the town's name was changed to Vallecito in 1940.[1]

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 8.6 square miles (22.2 km²), all of it land.

Demographics

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 427 people, 183 households, and 120 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 49.8 people per square mile (19.2/km²). There were 195 housing units at an average density of 22.8/sq mi (8.8/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 95.55% White, 0.23% Black or African American, 3.04% Native American, 0.47% Asian, 0.47% from other races, and 0.23% from two or more races. 1.87% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

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