Columbia California Photography Full Screen Slide Show

Columbia History

The first indigenous people in the Columbia area were the Miwok. Rev. John Steele writings on his time during the gold rush era and on the subject the "Mi-wuk" of Columbia in his diaries In Camp and Cabin.

Within weeks of discovering gold in the Columbia vicinity, thousands individuals arrived and the populace rose to 5,000. By 1852, there were eight hotels, four banks, 17 general stores, two firehouses, two book shops, a daily paper, three houses of worship, and more than 40 drinking/betting establishments. Somewhere around 1850 and the mid 1900s, $150 million in gold was taken from the encompassing hills.

The local community brass band, a popuar organization, welcomed the arrival of the first "white lady" in town in 1851. Columbia had five graveyards, including a Boot Hill, where burials were fashioned without markers.

In 1854, Columbia's first fire wiped out six city blocks. The town was rebuilt utilizing brick with construction materials of iron In 1857, another fire destroyed just about everything else, aside from the brick structures. The Columbia one-room school house was constructed 1860, revamped in 1872, and closed in 1937. It was acquired by the state of California 1n 1947 for $1, and made a part of the historical area park.

The gold being mined in Columbia had rapidly decreased by 1860. The only land remaining to mine was in the city itself. Miners burrowed under structures and demolished houses to get at the gold remaining underneath the city. Deposits of copper were found in the area, and the adjacent community of Copperopolis experienced a boom. The brick from the demolished structures in Columbia were sold for new development in Copperopolis.

Columbia, in its prime, was California's second-largest city, however around 2,000 people now live in this area. It was even briefly considered as a site for the California state capitol. Unlike numerous goldrush boomtowns, Columbia never turned into a ghost town. In 1945, California established Columbia State Historic Park from the remaining historical structures of the city.


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Columbia State Historic Park is located three miles north of Sonora, just off Highway 49. The address of the park is 11255 Jackson Street Columbia CA, 95310. The old Gold Rush-era business district of the park has been preserved with many restaurants, shops, and two hotels. Visitors are presented the opportunity to time-travel back to the 1850s, imagining thje time when gold miners, businessmen and the other residents in Columbia rubbed shoulders. Visitors are exposed to a bygone era viewing proprietors wearing period clothing go about doing business in the tone of yesterday. A 100 year-old stagecoach, is available to ride, visitors can pan for gold, and scout the businesses of Columbia in operation.

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Columbia California Photography Full Screen Slide Show Reviewed by Gene Wright on . Rating: 5