Living: Gold Rush '77

Back to them thar hills

They come pouring in by the hundreds every weekend, avaricious tourists with gleams of glory in their eyes. The onslaught created such confusion and congestion in tiny Downieville, Calif, (pop. 500), that Sheriff Albert E. Johnson had to halt the frantic activity for four days last month. The cause of the stampede: old-fashioned gold fever.

The rush is on in a thousand old mining locations across the country, including parts of New York, Pennsylvania and Georgia. The richest—and most crowded—site is the Mother Lode, a network of streams cutting...

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