Coyote Creek runs though a large meadow, also called a “flat”, and since a man by the name of Douglas, spent a lot of time camped out in this “flat”, the town eventually came to be named after him. Although the main industry here was mining, many settlers planted orchards, vineyards, and gardens, because the ground here seemed to be exceptionally fertile. More detailed information from The California Gold Country: Highway 49 Revisited by Elliot H. Koeppel.
History of Douglas Flat Area
California Historical Landmark number 272 states: “Douglas Flat was a roaring mining camp of the early 1850s. In 1857 the Harper and Lone Star Claims produced $130,000 worth of gold. The so-called Central Hill Channel, an ancient river deposit from which vast quantities of gold have been taken, is located here.”
Nearby Moaning Caverns were known to the Miwok tribe long before the gold rush. They had a legend about three maidens seeking husbands and an old and wise woman who advised them to go into Samwel Cave. One of the maidens fell down a shaft but the Miwok tribe was afraid of caves, so nobody went to look for the girl.
Some of the oldest human remains known in America were discovered in Moaning Cavern preserved by the mineral-rich water in the cave. Archeologists found a girl’s skelton at the bottom of a drop, knowing the Miwok legend they returned the 200 year old bones to the tribe. For more information see the Caverns and Spelunking in the Mother Lode page in the destination section.
Douglas Flat Zip Code: 95229