"SUTTER CREEK, Calif. -- The first time this town put a major wager on a golden future was in 1851 when a local resident, R.C. Downs, talked budding tycoon Leland Stanford into joining him in investing in an under-performing mine."
"That venture -- and a mine renamed from the Union to the Lincoln -- ultimately unearthed 100,000 ounces of gold. For years, camps in Sutter Creek and nearby Amador City roared with economic life and rolled with hard-boozing saloons and bordellos.
Now, for the first time in half a century, underground gold mining has returned to the California foothills. In the grassy slopes above these Amador County towns east of Sacramento, modern-day miners are blasting and mucking in pursuit of more than $1 billion in glistening deposits.
That is the anticipated reward the Sutter Gold Mining Co. is banking on, based on current gold prices and projections it can unearth up to 680,000 ounces of gold. It plans to reap its haul by boring new tunnels from an old mine and exploiting multiple layers of quartz veins, snaking south to the edge of Sutter Creek and, later, north toward Amador City."