December 18, 2012
Sutter Gold Mining Company mill superintendent Paul Skinner pours the first thin stream of glowing molten gold into a mold, forming a shiny one-inch pyramid near Sutter Creek, Calif.
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The gold miners who made California famous were the rugged loners trying to shake nuggets loose from streams or hillsides. The ones who made the state rich were those who worked for big mining companies that blasted gold from an underground world of dust and darkness.