How did people get rich from the Gold Rush?


Did people actually get rich?

Did individuals just turn in gold from gold panning and were rich or were a select few rich because they found gold in a mine they owned?

In: 6

Panning was just one method of getting gold or getting rich during the gold rush. And panning typically wasn’t the way people got rich. However, there were many other ways people made a lot of money.

One way was mining into the mountains. If you were lucky, and hit a good vein, you could mine a lot of gold. But it was dangerous, and sometimes deadly.

Another way was to do strip mining. Where they would take large water hoses and blast the side of a mountain, causing all dirt to come down and then they’d go through that dirt looking for gold. Similar to how they do it in like the Gold Rush TV program.

Another way was to sell supplies to people coming in to “make it rich”. If you were a shop owner you could sell supplies for gold mining and a very large mark up, and make a lot of money at it.

Open a bar. People who find gold would come in and pay for drinks with the gold. You could make a killing on serving booze.

You could also buy claim to a bunch of river area. Then split it up into smaller claims, and “seed” it with some gold. Then, bring naive people up there looking to get rich, and they’d find a little gold, and pay you for the claim, and never find any other gold, but you had your money and you could make a lot doing that. If you weren’t killed as a swindler first.

As the saying goes – the ones who did the best during the gold rush were the ones selling picks and shovels

Most of the people that got rich did it by selling things to the miners or providing services. The two biggest examples are Levi Strauss (as in Levi jeans) and the Wells Fargo bank that got their start in the California gold rush. Aside from that there are plenty of people that applies food, construction, and transportation as the 500 person town of Yerba Buena exploded into the 150k city of San Francisco in less that 5 years.

Getting rich by mining gold was just as much luck as skill. Most people who went out West during the Gold Rush had very little initial idea of what they were doing and most made very little money or lost everything.

Only a handful of people made it rich mining gold either because they had the required skills to find and mine the Gold in the first place, or because they just got lucky.

The old saying goes that the sure fire way to make money mining gold, is to be the one selling the picks and shovels.

The people that went out West and started selling equipment, open bars, and hotels, and ran other essential services were the ones that made the real money.

They also frequently took advantage of the gold miners, because a lot of them weren’t particularly bright to begin with.

The people who got rich were the ones selling the “Claims” for where they could pan for gold. The vast majority of panhandlers never saw a single bit of gold and were dead broke.