State Parks Funding

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, El Dorado County

Maintenance backlog: $13.1 million

On Main Street in old Coloma, near the place where gold was discovered by James Marshall in 1848, the building known as Bell's store stands in ruins.

The state has estimated it would cost $260,000 to stabilize the structure's walls and reopen the building to the public with interpretive panels.

During the Gold Rush, the brick building was a general merchandise store that also sold feed and grain. Now it is an empty shell, with weeds poking out through the roofline. Chain-link fence surrounds the decaying structure, which faces the main tourist drag of Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park.

Marshall Gold is a popular destination for schoolchildren. But this building is off-limits, with a yellow-and-brown sign that cautions: "Danger Keep Out. Structure and grounds unsafe."

Not far away, in an area open to the public, bone fragments in an old hillside cemetery have been exposed by erosion, according to state records. Though no human bones were visible on a recent visit, the cemetery – where the oldest headstone is dated 1861 – definitely has fallen into disrepair.

In one section, a rotting white fence has collapsed onto a grave, while weeds have overtaken other plots.

The state estimates it would cost $30,000 for erosion control at the cemetery, where many Irish family members are buried.

– Marjie Lundstrom

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