Latitude / Longitude:
32°58′34″N 116°21′1″W / 32.97611°N 116.35028°W / 32.97611
1,762 ft (537 m)
Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
Vallecito (“Little Valley” in Spanish; formerly, Murphy’s Old Diggings, Valacito, Vallicita, Vallicito) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Calaveras County, California, United States. The population was 442 at the 2010 census, up from 427 at the 2000 census. The town is registered as California Historical Landmark #273. Nearby is Moaning Cavern, the largest cave chamber in California, which the Miwok Indians used as a burial ground.
Vallecito was one of California’s important early-day mining towns. Gold was discovered here by the Murphy brothers in 1849, and it was originally called “Murphys Diggings,” which became “Murphys Old Diggings” when they moved on to greener pastures at “Murphys New Diggings” (which became the town of Murphys). The town was revitalized in 1852 when extremely rich deposits of gold were discovered running practically through the center of town. A post office was established in 1854, which is still in use today.
The Vallecito Bell, cast at Troy, New York in 1853, was brought around Cape Horn. It was purchased from the ship with funds contributed by early-day residents and brought to Vallecito to be erected in a large oak tree in 1854. It was used to call the people together until February 16, 1939, when a severe wind blew the old tree down.
The first post office opened in 1854 as Vallicita; the town’s name was changed to Vallecito in 1940.