Where Feet and Hooves Meet Dirt in the Wild Wild West

By
Real Estate Agent with GreatWest Realty DRE# 00827565

Stage Coach - Columbia California

For those of you, who have been following my blog, you know that I have a fascination for the California Mother Lode - the little towns, and their history.  A few days back, I wrote about Amador City a little treasure along the Highway 49 daisy chain of California Gold Rush towns that make up the tapestry of rich California history.

Late last week, I gathered up a couple more grandkids, and my camera.  We jumped in the car, and headed off once again, traveling south east on highway 16, which connects up with highway 49 further south east through the likes of Dry Town, Amador City, Sutter Creek, Jackson, San Andreas and Angels Camp, before reaching The Gem of the Southern Mines, Columbia.

Of all the little Gold Rush towns still in existence today, Columbia is one that I enjoy the most for its original feel.  The town's landscape filled with the old Wells Fargo building, stores, blacksmith shop, and saloon, continue on the very dirt streets and roads they existed on originally.

The little town got its beginnings on March 27th 1850, when Dr. Thaddeus Hildreth, and his brother George, with a handful of other prospectors, made camp near there.  They found gold, and miners streamed in to share the wealth.

Within the month, Hildreth's Diggings, a tent and shantytown housed several thousand miners.  It's original name was soon changed to American Camp, and then ultimately to Columbia.

The history of the little town was almost doomed to be very short.  Water, which is indispensable for mining placer gold, was in very short supply.  And, there were no natural streams in the area - only gulches carrying runoff from rain and snow.  So, in June 1851 the Tuolumne County Water Company was created to bring water into the area.  Because the water company's rates were exhorbitantly high, the miners formed the Columbia and Stanislaus River Water Company in 1854.  This new company built a 60 mile aqueduct to supply the mines.  The new system was not completed fully until 1858, when the more easily worked gold deposits had been exhausted and the miners began moving out.  Because of this, the Tuolumne County Water Company acquired the new system, which cost over $1 million, for under $150,000.

Columbia's tents and shanties began being replaced with permanent structures.  By the end of 1852 streets were laid out, with more than 150 shops, stores, saloons and other enterprises, all going strong.  There was also a church, a Masonic Lodge, and even a branch of the Sons of Temperance (if you can imagine any kind of temperance in a mining town).

Recognizing an opportunity to preserve a typical Gold Rush town as an example of one of the most colorful eras in American history, the California State Legislature in 1945 created Columbia State Historic Park.

For more information about Columbia State Historic Park you can visit the Columbia Chamber of Commerce website.

For the best roast beef sandwich, pickles, chips and sarsparilla around, show up at Jack Douglass Saloon in the center of Columbia, 22718 Main Street.  Kids are welcome too!

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EXPRESS WITH PHOTOGRAPHS AT ACTIVERAIN
CALIFORNIA DREAMING
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myrl jeffcoat

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Rainmaker
640,298
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro

I think I saw this town in Kansas, no it was Colorado, no it was Texas, no it was Arizona.  I LOVE THE WEST!!  As always loved your history lesson and slide show.

Aug 10, 2009 09:31 PM #2
Ambassador
904,650
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Myrl, what a tour guide you have  become. On my couch I have been to the most INTERESTING places. Some day I will go for real, but for now, I love your tours. Thank you!

Aug 10, 2009 09:48 PM #3
Rainmaker
1,601,471
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Authentic Feng Shui Expert

Myrl, What a fantastic slide show!  I loved every second of it and the way you put it together.  I was in a small mining town in Arizona (I believe it was Prescott) and loved seeing the history! 

Aug 10, 2009 09:57 PM #4
Rainmaker
527,430
Shirley Parks
Sands Realty 210-414-0966 - San Antonio, TX
Broker, 210-414-0966, San Antonio TX Homes

The Old West holds so many romantic images... I love your slide show, Myrl!

Aug 10, 2009 10:15 PM #5
Rainmaker
1,232,426
Al & Peggy Cunningham Brokers, Brampton Ontario Homes For Sale 905-450-5500
RE/MAX Realty Services Inc. - Brampton, ON

What great fun Mryl!  Glad you took your camera. Pretty neat the way you do your slide show too!

Aug 10, 2009 10:47 PM #6
Rainmaker
57,125
Carol Judd
Patriot Real Estate - Vernal, UT
Vernal Utah Real Estate

Looks like a great little town- with great history! My grandkids would love to visit a place like that. Thanks for the post and all the intersting information!

Aug 10, 2009 10:56 PM #7
Ambassador
1,591,325
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Great slides Myrl and I just love these little gold rush type towns. How fascinating.

Aug 10, 2009 11:36 PM #8
Rainmaker
474,324
Trey Thurmond
BCR Realtors - College Station, TX
College Station , Texas Homes

Myrl

There you go again....you and the grandkids sure have so many different and fun things to do in your area....lucky.

Aug 10, 2009 11:41 PM #9
Rainmaker
1,228,573
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Barbara - I'm so glad you enjoyed it. . .I'm glad you stopped by for a little visit to my blog:-)

Marchel - There are scores of these little towns scattered around in various western states.  In California, highway 49, which I think got its name from the 1849 gold rush, has so many delightful ones linked together.  I remember being in South East Kansas, and having my mother drive me across that state to visit one of their famed western towns.  I still want to visit the Alamo in Texas, and Tombstone, Arizona though.

Andrea - I'm a couch traveler too.  Usually, it's when the grandkids are in school:-)

Carole - I've been to Prescott.  I was fascinated by the terrain which was so different that most of Arizona.

Shirley - They really do hold many images.  I was sitting on a bench the other day, waiting for the grandkids to return from a ride on the stage coach.  I could imagine dance hall girls, gun slingers, and piano players all coming in and out of the saloon across the street.

Al and Peggy - I'm glad you enjoyed it. . .Thanks for visiting!

Carol - Yes, it's stuffed with history, in every nook and cranny:-)

Gary - Me too. . .They transport me to an entirely different era.  Its like being in a time machine.

Trey - Yep, there I went again.  Now see what you have to look forward to with Hoyt.  You're gonna just love it!

Aug 11, 2009 12:02 AM #10
Rainmaker
1,198,923
Tony & Darcy Cannon
Keller Williams Legacy - Woods Cross, UT
The C Team

Myrl, thanks for sharing these photos and history with us on Columbia State Park.  I will add it to my list of places to visit.  This era in American history has always interested me, thanks for your research.

Aug 11, 2009 12:21 AM #11
Rainmaker
543,329
Toula Rosebrock
Diane Turton, Realtors, Forked River, NJ - Lacey Township, NJ
Broker/Sales Associate, Realtor, Lacey Township,

ToulaRosebrock,com

Hi Myrl:

Love your slide show...as always!

It's neat to see these photos, reminds me of the old western movies that I use to watch.

Aug 11, 2009 07:09 AM #12
Anonymous
Anonymous

You have grandkids who enjoy not only being with grandma but actually going on a tour with her? Wow. Sounds like you're the star in someone's lives, and for that I just have three more things to say:

  1. Myrl rocks!
  2. Myrl rolls!
  3. Myrl rules!

I'll also leave you with a picture, though (use the mouseover).

A lovely rose for a lovely lady

Aug 11, 2009 10:14 AM #13
Rainmaker
623,275
Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate
M & M Realty of Brevard Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Brevard County FL Real Estate

Myrl, Each time I read one of your posts about your grandkids, it reminds me of what an incredible Grandma you are! You get to teach them about a little piece of history, while they get to LOVE just being with you.  You are truly a fascinating woman!  I had a Grandma like you and so did my teenage daughters.  They lost their Grandma 5 months ago and miss her dearly.  You and they are blessed!

Aug 11, 2009 01:12 PM #14
Ambassador
667,270
Ann Allen Hoover
RE/MAX Advantage South - Hoover, AL
CDPE SRES ASP e-PRO Realtor - Homes for Sale - AL

Myrl, I really enjoyed the picture and information.......quite a fascinating history lesson and lots of fun!

Aug 11, 2009 01:21 PM #15
Rainmaker
1,228,573
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Tony and Darcy - If you ever get an opportunity to come this way.  A tour of all of highway 49 and it's historical treasures is something you should consider.

Toula - Being there feels like "living" the old west!

Russel - Thank you for the rose, Kind Sir!  It's greatly appreciated!

Sandy - My kids really loved their grandmother too (my mother).  It is such a great loss when we lose them in our family.  If you lost Grandma just 5 months ago, there is still significant pain being felt.  I'm sorry for that!

Ann - I'm glad they were to your enjoyment. . .Thanks for the visit!

Aug 11, 2009 02:16 PM #16
Ambassador
1,397,243
Robert (Vegas Bob) Swetz
REALTY ONE GROUP - LAS VEGAS, NEVADA 702.443.7156 - Las Vegas, NV
Commercial & Residential Real Estate Agent

Myrl - You sure have some great interesting posts with some wonderful photographs! I really like the "Old West"

And you have once again did a great job of expressing with photographs!

VB ;o)

Aug 11, 2009 10:48 PM #17
Rainmaker
589,989
Jim Hale
ACTIONAGENTS.NET - Eugene, OR
On the Move for You! - Eugene - Springfield Oregon Real Estate

Myrl:

What a great place the mining country is. Please tell us what program you use for that slideshow.

Aug 13, 2009 05:32 AM #18
Rainmaker
468,836
Janice Roosevelt
Rory Burkhart Team, Keller Williams - West Chester, PA
OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker

Myrl, you have to publish a book! These stories and trips are dynamite!

Aug 13, 2009 06:12 AM #19
Rainmaker
1,228,573
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Robert - Thank you Kind Sir!

Jim - I posted a little tutorial back in April titled "Animated Blogging."  There is one more step to the process however.  Once you have created the animation, you must upload it to a website, and then reference the URL when using it here on ActiveRain.  Otherwise, the animation won't animate, it becomes static.

Janice - I'm really gald you enjoy the stories.  I'm up early this morning.  When my youngest daughter drops off two of the grandkids, we are headed into a different area. . .So stay tuned:-)

Aug 13, 2009 07:05 AM #20
Rainmaker
1,121,895
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

What a wonderful post and slide show.  It was almost like being there.  I took my nephew to the gold country and we loved it.. lots to see and do.

Aug 13, 2009 10:14 AM #21
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Rainmaker
1,228,573

Myrl Jeffcoat

Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent
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