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Mokelumne Hill, California facts for kids

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Mokelumne Hill
Main Street building
Main Street building
Location in Calaveras County and the state of California
Location in Calaveras County and the state of California
Mokelumne Hill, California is located in the United States
Mokelumne Hill, California
Mokelumne Hill, California
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  California
County Calaveras
 • Total 3.082 sq mi (7.981 km2)
 • Land 3.079 sq mi (7.974 km2)
 • Water 0.003 sq mi (0.007 km2)  0.09%
1,473 ft (449 m)
 • Total 646
 • Density 209.60/sq mi (80.94/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area code 209
FIPS code 06-48480
GNIS feature IDs 228901, 2408855
Reference #: 269

Mokelumne Hill (Mokelumne, Miwok for "People of the Fish Net") is a census-designated place (CDP) in Calaveras County, California, United States. The population was 646 at the 2010 census, down from 774 at the 2000 census. It is commonly referred to as "Moke Hill" by locals. The town takes its name from the neighboring Mokelumne River, which in turn is Miwok for the "people of Mokel," the likely name of a Native American village in the area.


Mokelumne Hill was one of the richest gold mining towns in California. Founded in 1848 by a group of Oregonians, the placers were so rich that the miners risked starvation rather than head to Stockton to replenish their supplies (one finally did and made it rich by becoming a merchant). Soon after, gold was discovered in the nearby hills, so much so that miners were restricted to claims of 16 square feet (1.5 m2), and yet many of those claims were reported to have paid up to $20,000.

By 1850 the town was one of the largest in the area, with its population reaching as high as 15,000 with people of all nationalities: Americans, Frenchmen, Germans, Spaniards, Chileans, Mexicans, Chinese, and others. Besides racial tensions, the easy gold attracted criminal elements, and the town gained a reputation as one of the bawdiest in the area. Notorious bandit Joaquin Murrieta is said to have been a frequent visitor to the gambling venues. Violence was a major problem as well. In 1851, there was at least one homicide a week for seventeen consecutive weeks. A "vigiliance committee" was formed and by 1852, the worst of the crime was eliminated. That year, the town became the county seat. By the 1860s the gold started to run out and the town's population and importance diminished. When San Andreas became the new county seat in 1866, Mokelumne Hill's status declined even further. The town today is a quiet place, with lots of tourism due to its historic status. From 1959–1977 Mokelumne Hill was home to Lucile S. Davidson. She was known as "The shoe lady of Mokelumne Hill" She was in The Stockton 'Record' and later in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest privately owned glass shoe collection in the world. The first post office was established in 1851.

Mokelumne Hill is registered as California Historical Landmark #269.


  • The I.O.O.F. Hall (CHL #256) is said to be California's first three-story building to be erected outside the coastal towns.
  • The Congregational Church building (CHL #261) is the oldest such in the state.
  • The Hotel Léger (CHL #663) is one of the oldest continuously-operating hotels in California. One of its buildings was the county courthouse when the town was the county seat.
  • The original elementary school in Mokelumne Hill, which is still standing but has been converted to a private residence, was built in 1852 and was used until 1964. Unconfirmed legend has it that a bond issue to build the school failed, but citizens of the town built it anyway.
  • The basement of the Hotel Léger was the first meeting place of E Clampus Vitus.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 3.1 square miles (8.0 km²), over 99% of it land.


According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Mokelumne Hill has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csa" on climate maps.


At the 2010 census Mokelumne Hill had a population of 646. The population density was 209.6 people per square mile (80.9/km2). The racial makeup of Mokelumne Hill was 571 (88.4%) White, 3 (0.5%) African American, 12 (1.9%) Native American, 4 (0.6%) Asian, 0 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 26 (4.0%) from other races, and 30 (4.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 66 people (10.2%).

The whole population lived in households, no one lived in non-institutionalized group quarters and no one was institutionalized.

There were 299 households, 63 (21.1%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 129 (43.1%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 31 (10.4%) had a female householder with no spouse present, 14 (4.7%) had a male householder with no spouse present. There were 24 (8.0%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 5 (1.7%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 99 households (33.1%) were one person and 38 (12.7%) had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.16. There were 174 families (58.2% of households); the average family size was 2.71.

The age distribution was 102 people (15.8%) under the age of 18, 39 people (6.0%) aged 18 to 24, 119 people (18.4%) aged 25 to 44, 245 people (37.9%) aged 45 to 64, and 141 people (21.8%) who were 65 or older. The median age was 51.4 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.4 males.

There were 354 housing units at an average density of 114.9 per square mile (44.4/km2),of which 299 were occupied, 205 (68.6%) by the owners and 94 (31.4%) by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.8%; the rental vacancy rate was 18.3%. 447 people (69.2% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 199 people (30.8%) lived in rental housing units.

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