Gold Towns: Jamestown

Gold was discovered on Woods’ Creek in August 1848. Jamestown was founded by Colonel George F. James, a San Francisco lawyer, who located at this point on the creek some four miles southwest of Sonora. Jamestown fell on hard times after the Gold Rush, but experienced a dramatic resurgence in the 1880s when underground quartz mines were discovered nearby. In the years 1890-1815, $30 million in gold was extracted from these mines. The coming of the railroad in 1897 made Jamestown became an important transportation center in 1897, with the coming of the railroad. Main Street in downtown Jamestown looks much as it did 100 years ago, with its picturesque old brick stores and hotels that now contain modern restaurants and shops. Examples of different architectural styles are seen here:  wooden frame buildings from the latter 19th century, such as Queen Anne style structures and dry- laid stone buildings, plus buildings from the 1920s, built of poured concrete. The Methodist Episcopal Church on Seco Street, still in use, dates to 1852. A major attraction is Railtown 1897 State Historic Park and the Sierra Railway, which operates steam passenger trains. Jamestown is a designated California Historical Landmark.


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