The Oak of the Golden Dream witnessed the first documented discovery of gold in California by non-Native Americans in 1842. This discovery was 6 years before the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill which in turn sparked the great gold rush of 1849.
The name of the tree comes from the legend surrounding the discovery of gold. Francisco Lopez was working on the ranch of the del Valle family and as an administrator at the San Fernando Mission. However, previously he had studied mineralogy in Mexico City and always had his eyes open for valuable deposits. Legend has it that while he was looking for stray horses in the Placerita Canyon he stopped in the midday heat to take a nap beneath an ancient live oak. Beneath the tree he dreamed of finding gold. Upon waking he began to prepare lunch and dug some wild onions. Clinging to the roots were the unmistakable golden flakes the trained mineralogist knew so well. In the next year $100,000 in gold was found near the oak.