We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.



On Jan. 24, 1848, James Wilson Marshall found shiny flakes in the gravel at Sutter’s mill near present-day Sacramento. On March 24, the first account of a gold strike was reported by the weekly Californian newspaper. On May 20, the Californian suspended publication because there was no one left in San Francisco to read it. Farmers, sailors, tradesmen, and laborers had all headed for them thar hills for their share of the mother lode. By December, the gold rush was all anyone could talk about, even as far away as Liverpool, England. In his new book, Rush for Riches: Gold Fever and the Making of California, historian J.S. Holliday marks the sesquicentennial of the discovery at Sutter’s mill and commemorates the ’49ers who chased the increasingly elusive gold with pans, sluices, and hydraulic hoses while modern California was burgeoning all around them. Holliday discusses his book at 6 p.m. at the Library of Congress’ James Madison Memorial Building, in the Mumford Room, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. (202) 707-5221. (Janet Hopf)