The Gold Rush
The Biggest Southern California Gold Strike
Spencer and Katy
In Holcomb Valley more gold was found here (north of Big Bear Lake) than any place in Southern California. Bill Holcomb found the first gold in Holcomb Valley. He found the gold while he was hunting for bears. The Metzger Mine was a mine where people looked for gold. "Hiking about 250 feet up the Pacific Crest Trail is the Holdcomb View Trail. This is our first glimpse of Holcomb Valley."
The reason the gold rush is important to us is because the people that went to Big Bear to look for gold came through Apple Valley. At first the pioneers had to pack everything on pack mules. It was too hard to get there fast enough so they ask Van Dusen to build a wagon road through Apple Valley. This dirt road allowed miners to bring heavy equipment up to Holcomb Valley. Bear Valley Road in Apple Valley was also one way to get to the Big Bear area.
The gold miners made a town in Holcomb Valley called Belleville. There were more than 1000 men living there. At one time there were more people living in Holcomb Valley than in all of the rest of San Bernardino County. In 1860 there was a vote to see which city would become the County Seat, Belleville or San Bernardino. When the men counted the votes they found that two ballot boxes were missing and they were from Holcomb Valley. The city of San Bernardino barely won beating Belleville by only two votes. We wonder what would have happened if these boxes weren't lost?
The gold rush only last two years because the placer 9surface) gold began to run out. Holcomb Valley now is just a beautiful quiet forest.