In the northeastern corner of room two you will find displays against the north wall that show life in Coarsegold and the surrounding areas during the early historic period. The original name of Coarsegold was Coarse Gold Gulch, three words. At one time, it was supposedly known as Texas Flat because of the Texans who found gold here. The post office shortened the name to one word, Coarsegold. It is the last remaining gold town in Madera County. The towns of Narbo, Grub Gulch, O’Neals, Finegold and Hildreth have all disappeared as “business” towns.
The Buffalo Soldiers were African-American soldiers of the United States Army. They were assigned to guard the newly formed Yosemite State Park that was created by Abraham Lincoln on June 30, 1864. In 1903, 1904 and possibly 1911, a troop of “Buffalo Soldiers” bivouacked in downtown Coarsegold on the site of the Historic Village. They patrolled Yosemite up into the high country, making sure the ranchers who had permit areas did not graze more cattle than their permit allowed. These African American soldiers came from the Presidio in San Francisco and were given the name Buffalo Soldiers by the Indians who thought their hair looked like the matted hair of buffalo. (Name came from the plains of the Midwest area where there were buffalo.). The Army saddle is of the type that would have been used by the Buffalo Soldiers.
The hand pump is from the well that was in front of the market and in the middle of what is now Hwy 41 in downtown Coarsegold. It was placed over a seep in the middle of the road in the 1870s and removed when Hwy 41 was paved in the 1930s. We are told that the polished granite ”1852″ stone was placed by the gazebo around the well site. The first election in Coarsegold was held in 1852. One of the gazebos burned in 1927. Look carefully at the early Coarsegold photos on the wall and you can spot where the pump used to be in the center of town.
Along the wall you will find many old photos and paintings of early Coarsegold along with a time line with the history of Coarsegold. The plaques on the wall give a detailed description of the photo and paintings. You can see the photo with a picture of the Well that contained the old Hand Pump that was in the middle of town. Another interesting thing to note, in the background of many of the oldest photo’s you will notice that the Forest is not near as dense as it is today. This was due to the indigenous population (Indians) burning the forest to keep it cleared of brush and scrub oak. After 100 years of not following this practice the land has become covered in scrub oak and brush, this is the cause for such mega fires that burn uncontrolled and cause so much damage here in the foothills and mountain areas today.
Along the northeast wall you will see an old movie projector and camera equipment. Next to that is an old coke bottle dispenser. These dispensers were often set up in small stores or gas stations to sell cold bottles of coke-a -cola. The bottle cap was removed by taking the bottle and placing it under the cap clasp in the collector to the right of the dispenser and twisting the cap off by pulling the bottle downwards.