Before the Gold
Rush, Cool was the site of a Maidu Indian village. Gold
was discovered in the region as early as 1848, and Cool
became the site of active placer mining in the 1850s when
prospectors from Georgetown and Greenwood came looking for
virgin placers. Cool quickly became the commercial center
for surrounding mining camps such as Hogg’s Diggings
and Wild Goose Flat. The site developed later into a stage
stop on the road to Auburn from Georgetown and Coloma.
A ferry over the American River was established
in 1850 connecting Auburn and Coloma, with Cool being the
first or the last stop on the road, depending on the direction
Once Up For Sale
Today it is a small roadside
village with a service station, store, restaurant and miscellaneous
enterprises with a population of about 1,200 people, most
of whom live in surrounding areas and at the Cherry Acres
subdivision. At one time the entire town was listed on the
real estate market at $850,000, marked down from $1 million.
Apparently, there were no takers.
Cool is nonetheless a fairly thriving community,
due no doubt to its strategic location at the junction of
Highways 49 and 193. And a few miles down the latter is
the very upscale community of Auburn Lake Trails.
Like Rescue, Cool has a rather pedestrian
and undescriptive name compared with other Gold Rush communities,
such as Condemned Flat, Murderers Bar, and Placerville’s
early moniker, “Hangtown.”
Commercial traffic from Georgetown
and Placerville on the road was substantially increased
in 1865 when W.C. Lyons constructed a suspension bridge
just below the confluence of the North and Middle forks
of the river. Lyons had initially built the bridge downriver
at Condemned Bar, but when traffic there waned with the
evacuation of the placers, he moved the structure to the
1865 location. The bridge was a vital link between Cave
Valley and Auburn, where quarried limestone products could
be taken for transshipment elsewhere.