The Gold Discovery Park Association (GDPA) is the cooperating association for Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. At this park stands the first Episcopal Church in California and it is dire need of restoration before we lose this major piece of history. This church was not only where the funeral services were held in 1885 for James Marshall, the discoverer of gold, but it is also where more than 1300 couples have been married since it was built in 1855.
In 2015 the park made the heartbreaking decision to close the church to visitors and wedding ceremonies because of the dangerous building conditions. Since that time, park superintendent Barry Smith has reached out to multiple people and sources of funding within the Department of Parks and Recreation. A building assessment was done with a restoration estimate of $2.3 million.
On November 30, 2018 when Superintendent Smith walked by the church and noticed that one of the spires from the top had been ripped off during the last storm and had impaled itself into the ground in the neighboring yard.
This was the wake up call that our association and the park staff needed. We will no longer wait for funding from the state. This park is where gold was discovered and the reason we are the State of California. Therefore it is crucial that we receive the funding needed to adequately take care of these historic buildings.
For this reason, we are starting a fundraising effort to raise the money it will take to restore the Emmanuel Church. All money received will go towards restoration of this church. The GDPA has set up a separate account for this effort and has already deposited $25,000.00 to start it off.
More information about Gold Discovery Park Association (Gdpa): The mission of the GDPA is to promote the interpretation and conservations of Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. Over 300,000 visitors from all over the world visit the Park each year; 53,000 school children visit the Park every year as part of their study of California history. Since 1982, the GDPA has been dedicated to enhancing the educational and interpretive programs at the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park -- needs that are impossible for state parks to meet during these critical financial times in our state.