Long before the town of Madera was on the map, gold — heavy, coarse gold — was discovered in abundance along a gulch in what is now Eastern Madera County. With miners probing for placers on every creek and stream of the southern Mother Lode, it is no surprise that this entire area, approximately 35 miles from present day Madera, was inundated quickly with picks, pans, and prospectors who were all infected with gold fever.
Some have estimated as many as 10,000 souls rushed to the area when word of the discovery leaked out in 1850. A more realistic estimate, however, points to a figure of 1,500. Most of the miners were concentrated in the Texas Flats area, just a mile or two west of present day Coarsegold.
As was the case in all gold mining camps, some enterprising soul laid down his washing pan and proceeded to mine the miners. Such was the case in the Texas Flats area in 1850. Charles Michaels opened a general store just a quarter of a mile west of present day Coarsegold. In time the community grew, but it was first identified as “Michaels.”
The placer mining eventually came to an end, but the town of Michaels lived on. About this time, one John Krohn came to Coarsegold Gulch from San Francisco and met Michaels. The two men became friends and later partners. Krohn moved his family and belongings to Coarsegold Creek and built a home. Soon he and his partner, Michaels, were making a good living providing goods and services for the miners, prospectors, and travelers who were now frequenting that area. Soon stages were passing through, and people were homesteading, while miners continued to work the streams and soil...