By the numbers
11Acreage Under Vine (Hectares)
27Acreage Under Vine (Acres)
Placer County’s name comes from placer mining, which took place there during the Gold Rush of the mid-nineteenth century. Placer mining is the extraction of minerals from riverbeds. The American River is the largest in Placer County and it was downstream on that river, in El Dorado County, that gold was discovered in 1848, launching the Gold Rush.
Before the Gold Rush, the area which is now Placer County was home only to the Nisenan and Washoe tribes of Native Americans. The county was born in 1851, from portions of Sutter and Yuba Counties, in response to rapid population growth due to mining activities.
Gold mining remained a dominant driver of the economy for more than 30 years. During that time, however, other industries gained steam. Those included agriculture, lumber, and the railroad. Mining ended more than a century ago, but the area still benefits from Gold Rush-inspired tourism.
Today, Placer County is home to approximately 400,000 people. Aside from healthcare and local government, the largest individual employers in Placer County are Union Pacific Railroad, Hewlett-Packard, Northstar Tahoe ski resort, and Thunder Valley Casino Resort. The western part of the county is close to Sacramento, the state capital, and is orientated toward general business and agriculture. The eastern, more mountainous portion of the county is geared toward outdoor activities and tourism.