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El Dorado County, California
Seal of El Dorado County, California
Map of California highlighting El Dorado County
Location in the state of California
Map of the U.S. highlighting California
California's location in the U.S.
Founded 1850
Seat Placerville
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

1,788 sq mi (4,631 km²)
1,711 sq mi (4,431 km²)
77 sq mi (199 km²), 4.32%
 - (2000)
 - Density

91/sq mi (35/km²)

El Dorado County is a county located in the Gold Country of the U.S. state of California, in the Sierra Nevada. Its 2004 population was estimated to be 172,889, its 2000 population was 156,299. The county seat is Placerville.

Much of the population of El Dorado County has become suburbanized, as the metropolitan Sacramento area has expanded. In addition, the population of the Lake Tahoe area has also boomed recently.

History[edit | edit source]

El Dorado County was one of the original counties of California, created in 1850 at the time of statehood. Parts of the county's territory were given to Amador County in 1854 and to Alpine County in 1864. Prior to statehood, it had been referred to as Coloma County.

The county derives its name from "El Dorado" -- the far-famed fabulous region of genial clime and never-fading verdure, where gold and precious stones are as common as rocks and pebbles, where wines gently flow from fountains. The name, meaning "the gilded one" in Spanish, appears at the beginning of the 16th century as that of a mythical Native American chief who was said to have been covered with gold dust during the performance of religious rites.

When the discovery of gold by James W. Marshall at Coloma in January 1848 became known to the world, California, and particularly that section where gold was discovered, was referred to as "El Dorado." Many present-day towns in the county grew at the sites of gold mining camps set up during the California Gold Rush. A wealth of detail on that era and other aspects of county history is presented on the official county website at Stories in El Dorado County History.

Demographics[edit | edit source]

As of the census² of 2000, there were 156,299 people, 58,939 households, and 43,025 families residing in the county. The population density was 35/km² (91/sq mi). There were 71,278 housing units at an average density of 16/km² (42/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 89.71% White, 0.52% Black or African American, 1.00% Native American, 2.13% Asian, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 3.55% from other races, and 2.96% from two or more races. 9.32% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 90.5% spoke English and 6.5% Spanish as their first language.

There were 58,939 households out of which 34.2% had kids under the age of 18 living with them, 60.1% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.0% were non-families. 20.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the county the population was spread out with 26.1% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 27.8% from 25 to 44, 26.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 99.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.3 males.

The 2000 census also states that the median income for a household in the county was $51,484, and the median income for a family was $60,250. Males had a median income of $46,373 versus $31,537 for females. The per capita income for the county was $25,560. About 5.0% of families and 7.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.6% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those age 65 or over.

Politics[edit | edit source]

Presidential election results
Year GOP DEM Others
2004 61.2% 52,878 37.3% 32,242 1.4% 1,244
2000 58.3% 42,045 36.4% 26,220 5.4% 3,871
1996 51.8% 32,759 36.3% 22,957 11.8% 7,480
1992 39.9% 25,906 32.4% 21,012 27.7% 17,969
1988 59.3% 30,021 39.1% 19,801 1.5% 781
1984 64.9% 27,583 33.7% 14,312 1.4% 583
1980 58.3% 21,238 29.5% 10,765 12.2% 4,446
1976 47.7% 12,472 48.8% 12,763 3.5% 919
1972 54.2% 11,330 41.4% 8,654 4.4% 921
1968 49.0% 1,719 39.7% 6,054 11.3% 1,719
1964 39.5% 5,775 60.3% 8,810 0.2% 25
1960 49.2% 6,065 50.1% 6,175 0.8% 97

El Dorado is a strongly Republican county in Presidential and congressional elections. The last Democrat to win a majority in the county was Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

El Dorado is part of California's 4th congressional district, which is held by Republican John Doolittle. In the State Assembly, El Dorado is part of the 4th district, which is held by Republican Ted Gaines. In the State Senate, El Dorado is part of the 1st district, which is held by Republican Dave Cox.

Geography[edit | edit source]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 4,631 km² (1,788 sq mi). 4,431 km² (1,711 sq mi) of it is land and 200 km² (77 sq mi) of it (4.32%) is water.

El Dorado County contains the Desolation Wilderness, with Freel Peak[1] as its highest point at 10,881 feet.

Cities and Towns[edit | edit source]

A scene from El Dorado County

Incorporated Cities

Communities over 10,000 population

Communities under 10,000 population

The county is also home to the Heavenly Ski Resort and the Sierra-At-Tahoe Ski Resort.

Adjacent Counties[edit | edit source]

Transportation Infrastructure[edit | edit source]

Major Highways[edit | edit source]

Map of El Dorado County in Northern California

Public Transportation[edit | edit source]

  • [1] runs local service in Placerville and surrounding areas (as far east as Pollock Pines). Commuter service into Sacramento and Folsom is also provided.
  • BlueGo is the transit operator for the South Lake Tahoe area. Service also runs into the state of Nevada.

Airports[edit | edit source]

General aviation airports are include: Placerville Airport, Georgetown Airport, Cameron Airpark and Lake Tahoe Airport.

Asbestos[edit | edit source]

Portions of El Dorado county are known to contain natural asbestos formations near the surface.[2] The USGS studied amphiboles in rock and soil in the area in response to an EPA sampling study and subsequent criticism of the EPA study. The study found that many amphibole particles in the area meet the counting rule criteria used by the EPA for chemical and morphological limits, but do not meet morphological requirements for commercial-grade-asbestos. The executive summary pointed out that even particles that do not meet requirements for commercial-grade-asbestos may be a health threat and suggested a collaborative research effort to assess health risks associated with "Naturally Occurring Asbestos".[3]

In 2003 after construction of the Oak Ridge High school soccer field, the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry found that some student athletes, coaches and school workers received substantial exposures. The inside of Oak Ridge High School needed to be cleaned of dust.[2]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Coordinates: 38°47′N 120°32′W / 38.78, -120.53

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at El Dorado County, California. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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