A stroll down tree-lined Main Street transports visitors back to the mid-1800s with buildings bearing thick stone walls, iron shutters and pastoral gardens with white picket fences. Once you experience the charm and hospitality of Murphys, the historic “Queen of the Sierra”, you’ll want to come back again and again!
Rich in Gold Rush history, Murphys today is a vibrant, thriving community of over 2,000 residents. Many of the surrounding hillsides are rich with the fine wine grapes grown in our area. Murphys offers wineries, art galleries, live theater, eclectic shops, fine restaurants, charming hotels and B&B’s as well as a multitude of outstanding outdoor recreational opportunities.
Murphys’ colorful past came alive in 1848 when John and Daniel Murphy established a trading post and gold mining operation in the area that is now their namesake. True entrepreneurs with the luck of the Irish, they were a part of the very first immigrant party – the Stephens-Townsend-Murphy families – to successfully bring wagons over the Sierra in 1844, paving the way for westward migration. John and Daniel’s cries of “Gold!” were among the first heard in California. It is reported that the brothers took two million dollars in gold ore from the Murphys Diggins in one year’s time, making them millionaires before the age of 25. The sizzling Gold Rush camp of Murphys also played host to President Grant, Mark Twain and Black Bart. And in some circles, to an even more famous chap – a young, inquisitive lad who literally changed the scientific world, Dr. Albert Michelson.
Our friendly residents invite you to revisit the past while exploring the “new” upscale Murphys. Guided walking tours of the town’s many historic buildings including the home of Albert Michelson, the first American Nobel Prize winner, are conducted every Saturday at 10:00 a.m., starting in front of the Old Timers Museum on Main Street.