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Village or Town
Photo Courtesy of Volcano Community Association

Volcano is unique. A cone-shaped valley within a mile to the north of Chaw Se Grinding Rock State Park and Black Chasm, Volcano's history begins with its valley floor, once home to the Miwok people, whose grinding rocks are scattered everywhere.

Picture this valley as filled with oaks, verdant because of the many waters draining into its Sutter Creek nearby, and the trails which were followed by people and animals alike. The early immigrants and their covered wagons who came over the Sierra used the meadows of Volcano to rest, repair equipment and prepare to push westward for the final stages of their journeys. Then, gold was discovered here. Extremely effective high-pressure water systems literally removed the top soil, leaving the valley floor denuded.

The timing of the Gold Rush coincided with the Civil War, and since the state of California was precariously divided almost equally between pro and anti Union forces, protecting the outgoing gold shipments to the Union side required the presence of a cannon, which fortunately, never needed to be put into action. The cannon can still be seen today in Volcano. The town of Volcano is designated California Historical Landmark No. 29.

Many of the miners were sophisticated professionals who came to California to seek a new life. And touring the gold camps was the ardent Unitarian minister, Thomas Starr King, who presented a bell to the town of Volcano in 1863, for "...their Union contributions during the American Civil War." This bell can still be seen in the town, and is rung on New Year's Eve at midnight.

The town is level, and a perfect location for ADA Accessibility, as are the two hotels--the Union Inn and the St. George, as well as the General Store.

Just above Volcano is the world famous Daffodil Hill. Privately owned by the Ryan family, the ranch is open to the public each spring when the three hundred thousand flowers bloom. It is open weather permitting, so telephone first: 209 296 7048.

Thousands of daffodils are planted around the town by its children, and every spring the town is literally in bloom.

Nearby Places