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Tuttletown (No. 124 California Historical Landmark)

Historic Site or District
Nothing remains of Tuttletown's original store. –

California Historical Landmarks Program

Historical Landmarks are sites, buildings, features, or events that are of statewide significance and have anthropological, cultural, military, political, architectural, economic, scientific or technical, religious, experimental, or other value. Historical Landmarks are eligible for registration if they meet at least one of the following criteria:

1) Is the first, last, only, or most significant of its type in the state or within a large geographic region

2) Is associated with an individual or group having a profound influence on the history of California

3) Is a prototype of, or an outstanding example of, a period, style, architectural movement or construction or is one of the more notable works or the best surviving work in a region of a pioneer architect, designer or master builder

California’s Landmark Program began in the late 1800s with the formation of the Landmarks Club and the California Historical Landmarks League. In 1931, the program became official when legislation charged the Department of Natural Resources—and later the California State Chamber of Commerce—with registering and marking buildings of historical interest or landmarks.

In 1948, Governor Earl Warren created the California Historical Landmarks Advisory Committee to increase the integrity and credibility of the program. Finally, this committee was changed to the California Historical Resources Commission in 1974. Information about registered landmarks numbered 770 onward is kept in the California Register of Historical Resources authoritative guide. Landmarks numbered 669 and below were registered prior to establishing specific standards, and may be added to the California Register when criteria for evaluating the properties are adopted.

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Tuttletown owes its fame to its location in the heart of territory often visited by noted authors Mark Twain and Bret Harte. When Twain lived in his cabin on Jackass Hill, he visited Swerer’s store, built in 1852, to trade merchandise. Tuttletown was originally called Mormon Gulch because it was settled by a group of Mormons who began mining there in 1848. A short time later, Judge Anson A.H. Tuttle built a log cabin and a hotel. The town was named for Tuttle ever after. Only fragments of a foundation remain where the store once stood. Tuttle’s hotel burned in 1950.

Tuttletown was established as a resting point between 1848 and early 1850s for men and their pack mules carrying mining supplies. The town’s fame was short-lived. At its peak in 1850, the population numbered to 1,000 residents. After 1850, everyone began to move on.

During the days of the Gold Rush, men traveled the “Slumgullion Road” between Angels Camp and Sonora. Slumgullion was a miners’ term for the red mud deposits found in their sluice boxes. They also referred to it as a meat-and-vegetable stew they ate on a regular basis

The marker is located on Highway 49 (P.M. 24.8) at Wilcox Ranch Road in Tuttletown. This site is also part of the Mark Twain and Bret Harte Trail.

Tuolumne County

A treasure of natural wonders and lively gold rush history, Tuolumne County offers visitors vivid scenery. A portion of Yosemite National Park lies within the county, along with giant redwood groves and impressive geological features. Both Bret Harte and Mark Twain wrote stories set in this area during the Gold Rush.

Time Period Represented


Nearby Places