Mokelumne Hill was one of the richest California gold mining towns. Established in 1848 by a group from Oregon, the placers were rich to the point that the miners risked starving rather than make a trip to Stockton for more provisions (one person did just that and made it rich by turning into a merchant). Soon after, gold was found in the local hills,
there was so much gold that miners were confined to 16 square feet claims, but then many claims were reported to yield as much as to $20,000.
By 1850 the town was one of the biggest in the territory, with its population to as high as 15,000 with individuals of all nationalities: American, French, German, Spanish, Chileans, Mexicans, Chinese, and others. Other than racial tensions, the easy to come by gold attracted in criminals, and the town gained a notoriety for being one of the bawdiest in the area. It is said that infamous bandit Joaquin Murrieta often frequented the gambling venues. Violence was also a big issue. In 1851, there was no less than one homicide a week for a period seventeen weeks in a row. A "vigiliance committee" was created and by 1852, the most noticeably awful of the wrongdoing was eliminated. That same year, the town also became the county seat. Towards the 1860s the gold began to dry up and the town's population and significance lessened. In 1866, when San Andreas became the county seat, Mokelumne Hill's status further declined.
Today the town is a calm place, with much tourism because of its historic status. The first post office was set up in 1851.Mokelumne Hill is registered California Historical Landmark #269
Kasserman House, 8144 Main Street, built in 1852
Mangold House, 8197 Main Street, built in the 1890s.
Fred Lombardi House, 8215 Main Street, built in the late 1930s.
Parsonage, 8237 Main Street, from 1855–1860.
First Congregational Church, 8243 Main Street, built in 1856
Danz House, 8266 N Main Street, built in 1936
Hutchinson House, 8273 Main Street, built in late 1890s.
Telegraph Office, 8278 Main Street, built in 1890.
Eugenie Baudin House, 8278 Main Street, built in 1895) Y
Hodapp & Friend Store, 8299 Main Street, built in 1854
The Hotel Léger 8304 Main Street (also California Historical Landmark #663) is one of the oldest continuously-operating hotels in California. One of the buildings was also the county courthouse when the town was the county seat.
The hotel basement was the first meeting place of E Clampus Vitus.
McFadden Stone Store, 8307 Main Street, built inn 1854.
Bernardi-Gobbi Saloon, 8316 Main Street, built in 1896. Now a private residence.
Danielewicz Stores, 8317 Main Street, built in 1954
McFadden Store, 8317 Main Street, built in 1954
McFadden Liquor Store, 8325 Main Street, built in 1854.
Library, 8328 Main Street
Post Office, 8331 Main Street
Center and Main, 1950s
Adams and Co. - IOOF Hall, 8360 W. Center Street, built in 1854.
Abrams/Sokolosky Stone Store, 8368 W. Center Street, built in 1854
Levinson & Bro. Store, 8373 W. Center Street, built in 1854.
Webb Stone Store, 8386 W. Center Street, built in 1854
L. Mayer Building, 8388 W. Center Street, built in 1854.
Weihe House, 8437 W. Center Street, built in 1860.
Sturges/Costa Stone Store, 8402 W. Center Street, built in 1854
Sturges Stone Store, 8459 E. Center Street, built in 1854
The I.O.O.F. Hall (CHL #256) is California's first three-story building to be erected outside the coastal towns.