The town takes its name from the creek which the creek takes its name from John A. Sutter. Unable to stop the tide of gold-seekers flowing over and destroying his lands, Sutter decided to follow the call of gold, trying in vain to recoup what the Gold Rush had taken. He arrived here in 1848 with a band of Kanakas and Indians, and upon finding a likely spot began mining along the creek. A small settlement began to grow, centered around a cloth tent where the miners met on rainy Sundays when they couldn't go to Drytown or Jackson. The place eventually took the name of its most prominent citizen, and was called Sutter's Creek, Sutter, Sutterville, and finally, plain old Sutter Creek.
But Sutter wasn't a miner, and many of the other miners in the area didn't much approve of his using servants to dig for gold. He left the area a short while later, returning with his men to Sutter's Fort. He never mined again.
The camp appeared to be on the verge of disappearing by 1850, due to the poor placers and the better diggings to be found elsewhere. This changed dramatically in 1851 when rich quartz deposits were discovered near the camp. With the advent of quartz mining, Sutter Creek became firmly established as an important quartz mining center as well as a foundry center and supply point for the neighboring quartz mines and towns.
The post office came to town in 1852, with Dwight Crandall serving as the first postmaster. Other businesses included an Adams Express office, stores, saloons, hotels, bakeries and restaurants, doctors, lawyers, blacksmith, barber and numerous other professions, sordid and mundane. In September of 1854, Sutter Creek incorporated as a town which shows there were at least two hundred inhabitants at that time, as that was the required number for incorporation.
Plaque memorializing John Sutter in front of the 1928 City Hall and Auditorium.
Prior to the Auditorim here stood Fagan's Livery also known as Sutter Creek Livery and Feed. It was dismantled in the early 1900's to make way for the current Sutter Creek Auditorium.
The Plaque Reads Who mined here and gave Sutter Creek its name and under whose regime gold was discovered.
Also to those pioneer mothers, fathers and miners of the Mother Lode, which has produced millions in gold.
This rock used in Mother Lode Champion hand drilling contests.
From that point on the town never looked back, enjoying immense prosperity for years to come due to its location, in the midst of some of the most active and profitable deep quartz mines in the Gold Country. Mines such as the Central Eureka, the Old Eureka, the Lincoln, the Wildman, the Mahoney, and the Hayward produced millions of dollars in gold. The famous mines attracted and helped create famous people, such as Leland Stanford, Alvinza Hayward, and the "Witch of Wall street", Hetty Green, and of course John A. Sutter
Old photos of Sutter Creek
Historic photos courtesy of Amador County Archives