NO. 122 MONTEZUMA - First record of Montezuma was June 1850 when partners Solomon Miller and Peter K. Aurand, proprietors of the 'Montezuma Tent,' were attacked and Aurand killed by a group of Mexicans during the foreign miners tax excitement of that period. Due to the lack of water, little mining occurred here until 1852 when a ditch and flume were completed bringing water for placer mining. Two types of mining were carried on, placer operations on the flats and tunnels extending under Table Mountain. The gravel produced 3-1/2 C. per pan in the mid 50s. The yield was from $5 to $10 per day. One placer nugget found in 1853 weighed 18 lbs. 8 oz. By late 1852 the population was about 800. At its zenith Montezuma City had four saloons, two hotels, Adams Express Co., post office, church, some homes, and many tents and cabins. The town was nearly destroyed by an incendiary fire which started in Clarks Hotel on June 29, 1866.
Location: On State Hwy 49 (P.M. 11.3), 2.5 mi N of Chinese Camp
NO. 123 COLUMBIA - Columbia, the 'Gem of the Southern Mines,' became a town of 4,000 to 5,000 in the 1850s, following the discovery of gold here by the Hildreth party March 27, 1850. Gold shipments, estimated at $87,000,000, declined rapidly after 1858, but Columbia never became a ghost town. Columbia State Historic Park was created in 1945 to preserve its historic buildings and sites.
Location: Columbia State Historic Park, NW corner of Washington and Broadway Sts, Columbia
NO. 124 TUTTLETOWN - This early-day stopping place for men and mounts was named for Judge Anson A. H. Tuttle, who built the first log cabin here in 1848. Stones used in the base for the plaque are from the old Swerer store built in 1854, remains of which still exist (1949). Mark Twain traded here. Tuttletown Hotel, built in 1852 and still standing in 1949, was last operated by John Edwards.
Location: On State Hwy 49 (P.M. 24.8) at Wilcox Ranch Rd, Tuttletown
NO. 138 MARK TWAIN CABIN - This is a replica of Mark Twain's cabin, with original chimney and fireplace. Here on Jackass Hill, young Mark Twain, while guest of the Gillis Brothers in 1864-65, gathered material for The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, which first brought him fame, and for Roughing It.
Location: 1 mi NW of Tuttletown off State Hwy 49
NO. 139 ST. JAMES EPISCOPAL CHURCH - The seventh parish of the Protestant Episcopal Church in California, St. James is the oldest Episcopal Church building in the state. The first services were held in the church on October 4, 1859, and it was consecrated by Rt. Rev. Wm. Ingraham Kip in 1870.
Location: Intersection of N Washington (State Hwy 49) and Elkin Sts, Sonora
NO. 140 WELLS FARGO EXPRESS COMPANY BUILDING - This building, erected in 1849 by the Walkerly brothers, was subsequently owned by the Morris brothers. It housed a general merchandise store in connection with the office of Adams Express Company, predecessor of Wells Fargo & Company. The original express agents were Sol Miller, C. W. H. Solinsky, and the Morris brothers.
Location: SW corner of Main St and Solinsky Alley, Chinese Camp
NO. 395 SHAW'S FLAT - In 1850 this community was alive with gold miners. James D. Fair, after whom the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco is named, was one of the most notable. The Mississippi House, built in 1850, contains many relics including the original bar and post office with its grill and mailboxes. On a nearby hill stands the old bell, given by miners, which summoned men to work and announced the convening of various courts. According to tradition, a local bartender added to his income by panning the gold dust dropped on his muddy boots as he served customers.
Location: SE corner of Shaw's Flat Rd and Mt Brow Rd, 2.6 mi SW of Columbia
NO. 406 BIG OAK FLAT - First called Savage Diggins after the man who discovered gold here in 1848, the town was renamed Big Oak Flat about 1850 after the giant oak tree that stood in the center of town, near this spot. The oak, which was about 13 feet in diameter, was undermined in 1869 and burned in 1890, only pieces remained in 1949. Rich placer and lode mines are reported to have yielded $28,000,000 during the town's heyday. Stone buildings erected in 1852 were still standing in 1949.
Location: On State Hwy 120 (P.M. 30.2), Big Oak Flat
NO. 407 SUMMERSVILLE (TUOLUMNE) - The area's first non-Indian settlers, the Franklin Summers family, arrived in 1854 and built a log cabin a half mile west of this spot, the geographical center of East Belt Placer Gold Rush from 1856 to 1857. In 1858, James Blakely discovered the first quartz lode half a mile east of here and named it 'Eureka.' The mine became the nucleus of the town of Summersville, which was later called Carters and finally became Tuolumne. Other mining towns lively in gold rush days were Long Gulch, two miles south, and Cherokee, two miles north.
Location: In island, center of Carter St at intersection with Tuolumne Rd, Tuolumne
NO. 419 JACKSONVILLE - Near this site stood the historic town of Jacksonville, now inundated by the waters of Don Pedro Reservoir. The town was settled by Julian Smart, who planted the first garden and orchard in the spring of 1849, and named for Colonel A. M. Jackson. In 1850 it was the principal river town in the area and the center for thousands of miners working the rich bed of the Tuolumne River.
Location: Vista point at N approach to Don Pedro Bridge, State Hwy 120 (P.M. 19.4), 3.5 mi SE of Chinese Camp
NO. 420 SOULSBYVILLE - Site of the famous Soulsby Mine (discovered by Benjamin Soulsby), Soulsbyville is the first community in Tuolumne County to be founded (1855) entirely upon the operation of a lode mine. First to work the mine were hard rock miners from Cornwall, England, the first group of 499 Cornishmen arrived in 1858.
Location: NW corner of Soulsbyville Rd and Community Dr, Soulsbyville
NO. 422 SONORA-MONO ROAD - Jedediah Smith is reputed to have been the first white man to cross over or near Sonora Pass in 1827. A portion of the road was built by Tuolumne County Water Company in 1852 and a toll gate, fine hotel, and stables were located near this spot in the 1850s. Surveyed to Bridgeport, Mono County in 1860, the road was completed in 1864, when a six-horse team took three weeks for the round trip between Sonora and Bridgeport.
Location: On State Hwy 108 (P.M. 14.5) at Sugar Pine cutoff, Sugar Pine
NO. 423 CHINESE CAMP - Reportedly founded about 1849 by a group of Englishmen who employed Chinese as miners, Chinese Camp was headquarters for stagelines in early 1850s and for several California Chinese mining companies. Much surface gold was found on hills and flats. The first Chinese tong war in the state was fought near here between the Sam Yap and Yan Woo Tongs. Stone and brick post office, built in 1854, is still in use. The St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, built in 1855, was restored in 1949, its first pastor was Father Henry Aleric.
Location: NW corner of State Hwy 120 (P.M. 15.9) and Main St, Chinese Camp
NO. 424 SAWMILL FLAT - Its name derived from two sawmills erected here to supply mining timbers in the early 1850s, Sawmill Flat was rich in pocket gold in its heyday, population at one time was 1,000. The mining camp of a Mexican woman, Dona Elisa Martínez, at north end of the flat, is reported to have been a hideout of the famous bandit Joaquin Murieta. The legendary 'Battle of Sawmill Flat' would have taken place here.
Location: 22041 Sawmill Flat Rd, 2 mi SE of Columbia
NO. 431 JAMESTOWN - James Woods first discovered gold in Tuolumne County west of this point, on Woods Creek, shortly before the town was founded by Colonel George James on August 8, 1848. Large quantities of gold were recovered from the stream. The town became known as gateway to the Mother Lode and the southern mines.
Location: NE corner of Main and Donovan Sts, Jamestown
NO. 432 SPRINGFIELD - Springfield received its name from the abundant springs gushing from limestone boulders. The town with its stores, shops, and hotel built around a plaza once boasted 2,000 inhabitants. It is believed to have been founded by Dona Josefa Valmesada, a Mexican woman of means with the reputation of aiding Americans in the war with Mexico. During the town's heyday, 150 miners' carts could be seen on the road, hauling gold-bearing dirt to Springfield springs for washing.
Location: At intersection of Springfield and Horseshoe Bend Rds, 1.1 mi SW of Columbia
NO. 438 PARROTT'S FERRY - This is the site of the ferry crossing established in 1860 by Thomas H. Parrott that connected the mining towns of Tuttletown and Vallecito. The ferry was in operation until 1903, when the first bridge was built. The ferryboat, of flatbottom wooden construction, was propelled on heavy cables anchored in a large boulder. Still visible (1949) at low water on the Calaveras side of the river is the sandbag dam built to form a small lake that stored enough water to float the ferries in dry periods.
Location: Vista area on Calaveras side of Columbia-Vallecito Highway Bridge, Stanislaus River Parrott's Ferry Rd, 5 mi NW of Columbia
NO. 445 CHEROKEE - Gold was discovered here in 1853 by the Scott brothers, descendants of Cherokee Indians. Scars of placer 'diggins' in every little arroyo in Cherokee Valley, healed over by Mother Nature, were later replaced by a quartz mine. Present-day productive farms in this area were once rich placer grounds.
Location: On Confidence-Tuolumne City Rd (P.M. 8.5), 2 mi N of Tuolumne City
NO. 446 GROVELAND - Formerly called 'First Garrote' because of the hanging of a Mexican for stealing a horse, Groveland was built in 1849 as shown by dated adobe brick taken from a partition, adobe buildings were still standing in 1949. Gold was discovered here in 1849, and thousands of dollars in placer gold were taken from mines on Garrote Creek, Big Creek, and other diggings.
Location: On NE corner of Main (State Hwy 120) and Back Sts, Groveland
NO. 460 SECOND GARROTE - A sizable settlement was established at this rich placer location in 1849 by miners spreading east from Big Oak Flat and Groveland. The famous hangman's tree, part of which still stands (1950), is reported to have been instrumental in the death of a number of lawbreakers during the heyday of this locality.
Location: On State Hwy 120 (P.M. 34. 7), 2.4 mi SE of Groveland