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Auburn is a city in the county seat of Placer Countymarker, Californiamarker, United Statesmarker. The current population is 13,106 as of March 2009, according to city signs. It is well-known for its California Gold Rush history. One of its most famous citizens was the poet and short-story writer Clark Ashton Smith, who was born in Auburn in 1893 and lived there most of his life. Born and raised in Auburn, Stacy Dragila was the first to win an Olympic gold medal in women's pole vaulting. Tomas Arana, an actor most notible for his role in Gladiator, was born in Auburn. Also, the town is featured toward the end of British author Anthony Horowitz's book, Nightrise.

Auburn is part of the SacramentomarkerRosevillemarker Metropolitan Statistical Area.


The Placer County Courthouse was constructed between 1894 and 1898.
Archaeological finds place the southwestern border for the prehistoric Martis people in the Auburn area. Native Americans, the Nisenan, an offshoot of the Maidu, were the first to establish a permanent settlement in the Auburn area.

In the spring of 1849, a group of French gold miners arrived and camped in what would later be known as the Auburn Ravine. The party was on their way to the gold fields in Coloma, Californiamarker and included Francois Gendron, Philibert Courteau and Claude Chana. It was the young Chana who discovered gold on May 16, 1848. After finding the gold deposits in the soil, the party decided to stay.

Placer mining in the area was very good, with the camp first becoming known as North Fork Dry Diggings. The name was then changed to Woods Dry Diggings, after John S. Wood settled down, built a cabin, and started to mine the ravine.

The area quickly developed into a well established mining camp, officially becoming known as Auburn in August 1849. By 1850 the population had grown to about 1500, and Auburn became the seat of Placer County in 1851. Future mining operations would move up the ravine to the site of present day Auburn. In 1865, the Central Pacific Railroad, the Western portion of the First Transcontinental Railroad, reached Auburn as it was being built East from Sacramentomarker.

The restored Old Town still offers houses and shops from the middle of the 19th century as a special eye-catcher. The oldest fire station and post office are further delicacies out of the gold fever time. Gold-digger accessories as well as Indian/Chinese artifacts can also be admired by visitors at the Placer County museum.

Endurance Capital

Auburn is home of the Auburn State Recreation Area. Within the boundaries of this state park are more sporting endurance events than any other place in the world, giving Auburn the undisputed and internationally-acclaimed title of Endurance Capital of the World. Examples include the Western States Endurance Run, The Western States Trail Ride also known as Tevis Cup Equestrian Ride, American River 50 Mile Endurance Run, American River 50 Mile Equestrian Ride, Way Too Cool 50 Kilometer Endurance Run, Auburn International Half-Ironman Triathlon, Auburn Century 100 Mile Bike Ride, Coolest 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race, Rio Del Lago 100 Mile Endurance Run, Sierra Nevada 50 Mile Endurance Run, and the Coolest Run: Ride & Tie.


The following films were, at least in part, shot in Auburn:


Statue at Auburn, CA, honoring the 10,000+ Chinese workers (known then as "Celestials") who helped build the Central Pacific railroad.
Auburn is home to Placer High School, which is one of the oldest high schools in California.

Local dentist Kenneth H. Fox's colossal sculptures are perhaps the most famous in town. The statues chronicle Auburn's history with a middle-aged Claud Chana gold panning in the nearby American River, and a Chinese "Celestial" worker building the Transcontinental Railroad. Dr. Fox also took creative risk in sculpting statues of nude Native Americans. In response, the statues were mutilated and the phalluses removed. The statues are still standing in this condition. Dr. Fox is still a practicing dentist.


Rolling hills of Auburn, taken near Indian Hill Road.
Auburn is located at .

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.4 square miles (19.2 km²), of which, 7.4 square miles (19.1 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.41%) is water. The city is located at 38.89199 N, 121.07606 W.

Auburn is situated approximately 800 vertical feet above the confluence of the North Fork and Middle Fork of the American River between Sacramentomarker and Lake Tahoemarker in central California, along the Interstate 80 freeway. Mountainous wilderness canyons and the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Range lie adjacent eastward, while gentle rolling foothills well-suited for agriculture lie to the west. The crest of the Sierra Nevada lies approximately eastward, and the Central Valley lies approximately ten miles to the west.


As of the census of 2000, there were 12,462 people, 5,302 households, and 3,281 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,690.2 people per square mile (652.9/km²). There were 5,457 housing units at an average density of 740.1/sq mi (285.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.41% White, 0.46% Black or African American, 0.83% Native American, 1.32% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 1.52% from other races, and 2.36% from two or more races. 5.97% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 5,302 households out of which 28.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.5% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.1% were non-families. 31.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.3% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 18.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 86.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $98,999, and the median income for a family was $102,250. Males had a median income of $83,632 versus $60,066 for females. The per capita income for the city was $36,258.


Auburn is served by Amtrak, and its stationmarker is the Eastern terminus of Amtrak's Capitol Corridor train. Interstate 80 is the main east-west highway for the region and passes through Auburn. The city can be accessed by several exits on I-80, five of which (exits 118, 119 A-C, 120) are within the city limits. State Route 49 is the main north-south highway in the region. Highway 49 connects Auburn with Grass Valleymarker and Nevada Citymarker to the north.

The Auburn Municipal Airportmarker is located three miles north of the city and serves general aviation. The City of Auburn owns and operates the airport and industrial park. The airport sits on 285 acres including an 80 acre industrial park. The airport has a single runway. Services include aircraft charter (rental), aviation fuel, flight instruction, and scenic tours.



  2. Old Town Firehouse, Auburn Chamber of Commerce, Accessed August 1, 2009.
  3. Placer Tahoe Film Office - Shot in Placer County

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