360° VR Panoramas of Lake Tahoe, Northern Sierra, and the Gold Country
Columbia - Part One, Main Street
Columbia State Historic Park, near Sonora, California

Columbia, the "gem of the southern mines" is a miracle of historic preservation. After repeated fires in the 1850's most of the downtown area was rebuilt in brick with iron shutters. So when the gold ran out and the town's population ebbed away, a substantial town center was left behind. The state of California stepped in and purchased most of it in 1945, creating Columnbia State Historic Park.

The population peaked in the early 1860's at around 30,000 people, dropped to under a thousand by 1940, and is now about 3000, mostly dispersed away from the historic center.

Historic buildings line two blocks of Main Street, many of them with businesses or costumed interpreters illustrating life in the gold rush era. There are still a hotel, a theatre, and several bars. A stagecoach rolls though town and picks up visitors for a short ride on which they are regularly held up by masked bad men. There is even a place where kids can pan for real gold.


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Columbia State Historic Park, California

Date photographed: June 14, 2012
See location in Google Maps


Columbia State Historic Park, California

Date photographed: June 14, 2012
See location in Google Maps


Columbia State Historic Park, California

Date photographed: June 14, 2012
See location in Google Maps


Columbia State Historic Park, California

Date photographed: June 14, 2012
See location in Google Maps


Columbia State Historic Park, California

Date photographed: June 14, 2012
See location in Google Maps


Columbia State Historic Park, California

Date photographed: June 14, 2012
See location in Google Maps


Columbia State Historic Park, California

Date photographed: June 14, 2012
See location in Google Maps


Columbia State Historic Park, California

Date photographed: June 14, 2012
See location in Google Maps


Columbia State Historic Park, California

Date photographed: June 14, 2012
See location in Google Maps

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