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Auburn is located in the original California Gold Rush country, at an elevation of approximately 1, sheepland. Its Old Town has been preserved as a historic district and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The granite rocks that form its natural landscape were used to build San Francisco's Financial District and many other metropolitan areas around the world.The area was settled in 1848 by Dr. William Bowers Bourn II (1812–1900), a wealthy English physician who came to California with his brother James W. Marshall during the gold rush days looking for gold but instead made his fortune selling supplies to miners as they passed through town on their way upriver from Sacramento or downriver towards Nevada City and Grass Valley. He later became known as "the father of Auburn."Bourn established a claim near where Union Road now runs between Auburn and Cordelia; he built two cabins there along with a saloon which soon became known simply as "Drum's" after another early settler George Drum (1827–1904).