FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – During the construction of Friant Dam, crews found hundreds of pounds of gold that would be worth a fortune today.
In the late 1930s, crews began working to quarry rock and cement in an area that was later turned into the Lost Lake Recreation Area.
During the quarrying process, about 357 pounds of gold was found in the sand and gravel between 1940 and 1942.
Fresno County officials said the gold found was valued at $200,000. The same amount of gold today would be valued at around $6.93 million.
From 1880 to 1959, 121,000 ounces, equal to 7,562 pounds, of gold was found in Fresno County, according to a report from the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
Gold was found during several other sand and gravel operations along the San Joaquin River during this time frame.
In 1959, the County of Fresno bought 248 acres from the Bureau of Land Management to turn the once-gravel pit near the Friant Dam into the Lost Lake Recreation Area.