Prairie City was one of a number of mining cities that developed quickly after the discovery of gold but dwindled equally quickly once the gold was no longer there. There is nothing left of Prairie City today--only a historic marker to it indicate that it once existed. It is believed to have been located in the vicinity of the Prairie Oaks subdivision.
The once-thriving community of
Prairie City was apparently formed in 1853 when the Natoma Water and Mining
Company constructed a number of houses for miners and their families. The
settlement was located roughly two miles south of what is now Folsom and 21
miles from Sacramento.
Within a short period of time,
Prairie City had 1,500 residents, including a small number of families. Many of
the original settlers in Prairie City came down from the Sierra Nevada
mountains and found the area comparatively safe and stable, and free from the
heavy snow of the Sierras.
Placer deposits began to decline
in 1854 and some of the miners began to leave Prairie City. By 1865, all of the
gold in Prairie City had been worked out and the town was abandoned. The post
office closed in 1866, and although the school in Prairie City continued
operation until the 1880s, there was little left of the town.
In 1997, when an off-ramp was
being constructed in the vicinity of Prairie City, the bodies of twelve people
were unearthed. It is believed that they were Prairie City residents and their
remains were reinterred at the Mormon Island relocation cemetery.