Tuolumne County Profile - Community Indicators Project 2008
Tuolumne County Profile Introduction Health and Safety Education and the Arts Natural Resources and Recreation Economy and Infrastructure Appendices Conclusion Acknowledgements

Business and commerce revived, and agriculture came into its own again, while sawmills, planing, and box mills were developed. Hundreds of homes were built to house the increased population, and whole communities were established or rebuilt. Apples and pears from Tuolumne County were prized, as were its sugar pine wood, gold, and sash windows and doors.

About this time, the City of San Francisco was feeling the need to expand its municipal water system to provide for a growing population. By 1903 the city had acquired rights to Hetch Hetchy valley and Lake Eleanor. In 1913, the U.S. Congress, through the Raker Act, granted approval to flood Hetch Hetchy. Construction began the following year and greatly aided the economy and employment opportunities of southern Tuolumne County. Meanwhile, by World War I most of the mines in Tuolumne County were again idle and many people moved away to work in war-related industries in the San Francisco Bay Area. With the advent of the automobile and inexpensive truck transportation, many agricultural products and manufactured items were imported, rather than being produced locally. The Depression in 1929 sounded the death knell for most major industries, including agriculture and timber, and the county slumbered along with the rest of the United States during the following decade.

The centennial celebrations in 1948 and 1950 for the gold discovery and statehood, respectively, brought a renewed interest in the Mother Lode. Books were published, photographic and art exhibits mounted, and tourists came in droves to see where it had all happened. Tuolumne County’s quaint towns with their narrow streets of stone, brick, and frame buildings from another century, the rolling fields studded with wildflowers, the rushing streams, and the serenity of the foothills were now a destination. A gateway to Yosemite and the Sonora Pass, a land of natural beauty, with a sense of its history and place, Tuolumne County welcomed the tourists, many of whom returned to settle or retire.

At the height of the Gold Rush in 1852, the population of Tuolumne County is estimated to have numbered 17,000 individuals, a figure that was not again reached until 1963. The number has steadily grown since that time. Intense subdivision developments started then, and today the county is experiencing a period of expansion unprecedented since the Gold Rush. The entire foothill area has recently experienced a rapid growth with the economy dependent upon employment by government, service industries, timber, manufacturing, construction, agriculture, and tourism. With the expanding population has come an irreversible change to the fabric of society, the landscape, and the patterns of land use. Tuolumne County is no longer 150 miles away from anywhere via a dirt road, but is now a couple hours drive from the Bay Area and Sacramento.

The importance of history to the community fabric influences why people move here, why they remain, and what they feel is important and unusual about us.

Community Indicators Project
Tuolumne County - Central Sierra Mountains