Thursday, December 31, 2015

AAUW sponsors presentation by local Gold Country authors - Thurs Jan 21

Please join us for a presentation by two local authors whose books are set in the California gold rush country of the mid-19th century, when tensions and fortunes were as volatile as the ground prospectors mined.

The speakers will be Mary Volmer, author of Crown Of Dust which makes a vital contribution to the literature of women living in the Mother Lode, and Elaine Zorbas author of Banished and Embraced: the Chinese in Fiddletown and the Mother Lode. The program will be moderated by AAUW Programs Vice President Helen Bonner, also a local author. The program is being hosted by the Amador Branch of American Association of University women, AAUW.

The program is open to the public. All those interested in learning more about Amador’s history and authors are invited to attend with no fee, and light refreshments served. Date is Thursday, January 21st from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM and will be held in the Amador First 5 facility, located in the Margaret Dalton Center, 975 Broadway in Jackson.

For more information contact Helen Bonner at: (209) 257-1832.

AAUW Programs Vice President Helen Bonner
will be the moderator for the next AAUW event on Jan 21.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Miners' Bend Commemorative Brick Pathway- Personalized Bricks Available Now!

The Sutter Creek Community Benefit Foundation invites you to participate in Sutter Creek’s new Miners’ Bend Historic Gold Mining Park by buying a personalized  engraved brick in the Commemorative Pathway. You and your family will not only provide financial support to the Foundation and help finish this park, but you will cement your place in Amador County’s gold mining history forever.

The work at Miners' Bend Park at the South end of Sutter Creek continues. By now you have probably noticed all the mining artifacts that have been placed at the South end of Main Street.  Sutter Creek Community Benefit Foundation has been working hard to make this historical project a reality and now are building a brick walkway that you can be a part of.

The SCCBF’s goal for completion of this park is early next summer, 2016. The Park will feature over a dozen displays telling the story of Amador's roll in the California Gold Rush. Work is being done on interpretive signage that will give visitors a brief history of the gold rush in Sutter Creek and Amador County, with historic photos and descriptions of each artifact on display.

The SCCBF would like to thank all those who have donated time and money to help make this project a reality. The Donor Brick Campaign will help them complete the park. Purchasing a brick is the perfect way to commemorate loved ones, promote your business or organization, honor a special occasion, or find that special gift. Personalized Bricks start at only $100.

Remember, your brick purchase is tax deductible. Buying a personalized brick helps the Sutter Creek Community Benefit Foundation preserve our cultural heritage in Amador County. To order, visit www.sccbf.org . For more information please call Frank Cunha at 209-304-9192.




Thursday, November 12, 2015

Preston Castle's "Old Tyme Country Christmas" - Dec 12 & 13

IONE, CA:  Travel back to olden times at the beautiful Preston Castle, from 10 am to 4 pm, and find lots of interesting arts, crafts, jewelry, baked goods, and other gift items while listening to Christmas Carols.
- Santa will be available for your wish lists and photos, starting at Noon.
- You may take a tour of the historic Preston Castle, 10 am to 2 pm, both days.
- On Saturday night, you can view the Castle lit up in Holiday Lights, from 5 pm to 8 pm.
- You can take a special historical tour of the Castle by flashlight, from 7 pm to 9 pm on Saturday. Advance purchase only.  Limited to 75 guests.
- Sierra Nevada Guns for Hire will be entertaining everyone on Saturday with Old West comedy and gun fights.
- Fiesta Fresh Grill will be on hand to take care of your hunger.
Preston Castle Olde Tyme Country Christmas
Saturday and Sunday, December 12, 13, 10 am to 4 pm
Preston Castle, Ione, CA
Free for Fair, Bazaar, Lights
$10 Day Tour, $20 Night Tour
Sponsored by Preston Castle Foundation
Tuesday Rubsam, Chairperson

About Preston Castle Foundation
The strikingly beautiful Romanesque style Preston Castle, on a hill in Ione, was actually the administration building for the Preston School of Industry, the first major attempt in California at rehabilitating, instead of just impris­­­oning, young offenders.  Opened in 1894, the Preston School of Industry became a leader in the juvenile prison reform movement by giving convicted boys a real chance at life by educating them not only in academics, but in all of the useful trades of the time.  Closed in 1960, when the Preston Youth Authority moved into a new administration building down the hill, the Preston Castle was left to deteriorate due to weather, vandalism, and general neglect.  It now serves as a vacant, but vitally important landmark for Ione, Amador County, and the Motherlode.  It is a California State Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.                   
The Mission of the Preston Castle Foundation is to preserve, rehabilitate, and utilize the historic Preston Castle site.  We are proud of the fact that the State of California has deeded the title for the Castle, four other buildings, and surrounding 13 acres of land, to the Preston Castle Foundation.  This year we are working hard to obtain our own water and sewer connections.  To help raise money for this important project, the Foundation sponsors several fund raising events throughout the year.
The final event for 2015 is a holiday fair/bazaar called Old Tyme Country Christmas on December 12 and 13.  Also, these dates will be the last public tour days until April 2016.
Help Save the Castle and learn more about our history, events, and tours by visiting: www.prestoncastle.com.  All contributions are tax deductible.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sutter Creek Community Benefit Foundation - Fall 2015


PRESERVING OUR HISTORY 
DONOR APPRECIATION EVENING
This is a reminder that our Donor Appreciation Evening will be held at the Historic Sutter Creek Grammar School on Thursday October 29, 2015
from
5:00 to 6:30pm
Sutter Creek
Fire History Project 
The Sutter Creek Fire Department History Project is restoring and recreating vintage fire equipment used in the Mother Lode for the last 150 years.
Please visit the website for more information at:
suttercreekfirehistory.org

 
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Contact Us
P.O. Box 24 
Sutter Creek, CA 95685 
(209) 560-6880 

Visit our Website!
Historic Photos
See Historic Photos of Sutter Creek!
MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL
General membership renewal letters will be mailed out this December 
Board Members

GRAMMAR SCHOOL PROGRESS UPDATE 
Tremendous progress has been made at the historic Sutter Creek Grammar School. A major project that can be seen from all over town is the restoration of the front porch and pouring of the concrete staircase. When Sutter Creek Community Benefit Foundation took on the school project the front stairs were wooden and quickly crumbling away. The new stairway will certainly last through the buildings next century. The eleven stairs are a sweeping twenty feet across and took over sixty yards of concrete. The 2015 Sutter Creek Primary School class pictures were taken on the new steps, renewing a 145 year tradition.
The front porch railings were reused where possible and the new railings were constructed to match the originals. Some front porch pillars were restored and those that were built were modeled off of the originals. The front porch gable structure and roof were repaired and reattached and will appear unchanged from the front.
During the restoration of the front porch original decorative brickwork and a wooden starburst structure were revealed (As seen in the image below). These strictly cosmetic intricate features have likely been hidden since an 1890 expansion which added the gable structure. The new porch ceiling has been redesigned to box in and feature the original 1840 brickwork.


  
 
MINERS' BEND PARK
The large concrete slab in the center of the park will support the five head stamp mill built at the The weed choked, semi-neglected, used car lot that once occupied the South end of town has already undergone a tremendous transformation. The grading, tree-trimming, and new rock barriers have revealed a lovely shady space.
There have been some other interesting appearances at the Bend. While it is fun to guess what function these large, somewhat imposing, certainly awkward to move mechanical dinosaurs held hundreds of years ago, we thought we would shed some light on a few.
  • The exhibit at the Southern end of the park is an air compressor with the motor and holding tank. These compressors were used to supply the air used by the equipment that extracted the gold ore from solid rock.
  • Next to the largest of the oak trees is a high pressure water pump that removed water from the mines.
  • The large headframe includes a winch and motor. The headframe was used to bring the gold ore to the surface and to raise and lower men and equipment. The ore car sitting aside is called a Knight Foundry in 1882.
Ultimately the park will feature more than a dozen exhibits of mining era relics including informational signage. Sidewalks, picnic tables, benches, and a water fountain will be installed making Miners' Bend Park an inviting place to spend some time in Sutter Creek.

 

  
Sutter Creek History Corner - 
At the corner of Main Street and Badger Street is a building that is known by many as the "Oneto Garage". Today the building is home to the Sutter Creek Cheese Shoppe, Water Street Interiors and Sierra Mountain Outdoors.
This lot located on the banks of Sutter Creek has been an industrial site since the very early days of the City. It wasn't until the 1990s that the street name for the section of road that intersects Main Street was changed from Foundry Street to Badger Street.
The first foundry and stamp mill in Sutter Creek was located on R.C. Downs property at 175 Spanish Street across from the Catholic Church on the creek. By mid 1854 the foundry had moved up the creek to the site at Main Street and Badger Street. The foundry was operated by Frank Tibbits, previously the superintendent at the Lincoln mine. Tibbits died in 1869 and the works were sold to S.S. Mannon. Mannon's Foundry became the Donnelly & Howard's Foundry and then by 1887 it was known as Donnelly's Foundry.
By the early 1870s the Amador Canal ran from the Mokelumne River and served Tanner Reservior located off of Ridge Road just above Sutter Creek. Before electricity, the water pressure from Tanner Reservior provided hydraulic power to Sutter Creek before electricity to power machines at the steam laundry, butcher shop, foundry, newspaper and others. At the same time the parcel between the intersection of Badger Street and Anna Street (Neville's house today) was used by the Amador Canal as their local maintenance yard.
What most people in town don't realize is that this foundry was served by a 10" high pressure line from a reservoir that was located just below Raylan Drive on the Old Highway 49. In fact the original survey map for Highway 49 shows the location of the reservoir. You can still see evidence of the reservoir's berm if you are coming down into town and on your left just after Raylan Drive.
In 1893 electric power was at its early stages of development by the local Amador Electric Railway and Light Company. In that same year Mr. Donnelly died when he fell off a train somewhere between Ione and Galt. Shortly thereafter Samuel Knight bought the foundry property for the Amador Electric Railway and Light Company's use. By 1895 the Foundry was gone and the Amador Electric Railway and Light Company had taken over the site. A Pelton Wheel was first used generate electricity for 1000 lights, but increasing need for more electricity in Sutter Creek, Amador City and Jackson necessitated that another water wheel, that was produced at the Knight Foundry, be added to the powerhouse for 2500 more lights.
In 1898 the Blue Lakes Water Company built a power house on the Mokelumne River very close to Highway 49 to supply power to nearby towns and mines, and as far away as Stockton. At some point around the turn of the century lines from this first power plant on the Mokelumne River were brought to Sutter Creek. Newspaper articles from the time indicated that the local Sutter Creek plant would eventually shut down yet it appears that the Blue Lakes power house did not bring an immediate end to the site in Sutter Creek.
Prince Andre Poniatowski from France and W.H. Crocker formed the Standard Electric Company with the dream of supplying electricity from the Mokelumne River to San Francisco. By 1902 the Standard Electric Company completed a new powerhouse on the Mokelumne River known today as Electra I. This plant eventually supplied most of the San Francisco Peninsula with electricity in the early 1900s.
 
In 1912 the Standard Electric Company (soon to become Pacific Gas and Electric) took over the parcel between Badger Street and Anna Street for their use as a maintenance shop. Shortly thereafter Pacific Gas and Electric controlled the entire operation of hydropower and transmission in the Amador County and along the Mokelumne River thus bringing an end to Sutter Creek's chapter of hydro-electric production. By 1928 the site on the Creek at Badger and Main became Oneto's garage as all of Sutter Creek's electric power was supplied by Electra I power plant.

 

Written by Ed Arata and Robert Gordon
     

Monday, October 12, 2015

Preston Castle Halloween Haunt - Oct 16 &17, 23 & 24, 30

PRESTON CASTLE HALLOWEEN HAUNT
Friday, October 16
Saturday, October 17
Friday, October 23
Saturday, October 24
Friday, October 30
6:30 to 11:00 pm each night
IONE, CA:  The event you've been waiting for, Halloween 2015, at the magnificent, eerie, scary, Preston Castle!  Now that we have ownership, we are planning a bigger and better Haunt, and you will see some new areas of the Castle. Featured on Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, come experience Northern California's only REAL Haunted House!

This is a fun "scare" tour and not a historical tour of the Castle.  Please be advised that it may be too intense for younger children, so leave the real young 'uns at home.  There will not be a children's carnival this year.

Food concessions by Clark's Corner and KJ Hot Dogs will take care of your hunger and thirst. Cool merchandise including really great T-Shirts, will be available for purchase.

Come and see if you dare!

Gates open at 6:00 pm, scare tours start at 6:30 pm. Admissions are limited for each night, so order early to make sure you can get in.
NEW!
A VIP Upgrade gives you Fast Pass line access and a second Haunt walk thru. Just buy your ticket(s) for the night you want, then buy the VIP Upgrade(s).
Admission is $20 for adults, $10 for youth under 14, $15 for VIP Upgrade.  No Refunds.  The Haunt is open from 6:30 to 11:00 pm.  For advanced tickets and information go to www.prestoncastle.com.  We’re waiting for you!
WHAT:         Preston Castle Halloween Haunt
PRICE:          $20, $10 youth under 14, $15 VIP Upgrade
WHO:           Sponsored by Preston Castle Foundation
                    Bill Thiry, Chairperson
WHERE:       Preston Castle, Ione, CA
35 miles southeast of Sacramento, CA off HWY 104 in Ione
WHEN:         Fri. and Sat., October 16, 17, 23, 24, and 30, 6:30 to 11:00 pm
About Preston Castle Foundation
The strikingly beautiful Romanesque style Preston Castle, on a hill in Ione, was actually the administration building for the Preston School of Industry, the first major attempt in California at rehabilitating, instead of just impris­­­oning, young offenders.  Opened in 1894, the Preston School of Industry became a leader in the juvenile prison reform movement by giving convicted boys a real chance at life by educating them not only in academics, but in all of the useful trades of the time.
 Closed in 1960, when the Preston Youth Authority moved into a new administration building down the hill, the Preston Castle was left to deteriorate due to weather, vandalism, and general neglect.  It now serves as a vacant, but vitally important landmark for Ione, Amador County, and the Motherlode.  It is a California State Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Mission of the Preston Castle Foundation is to preserve, rehabilitate, and utilize the historic Preston Castle site.  We are proud of the fact that the State of California has deeded the title for the Castle, four other buildings, and surrounding 13 acres of land, to the Preston Castle Foundation.  This year we are working hard to obtain our own water and sewer connections.  To help raise money for this important project, the Foundation sponsors several fund raising events throughout the year.
In addition to the Halloween Haunt, we will be holding a Halloween Costume Ball on Saturday, October 31, and a holiday fair/bazaar called Old Tyme Christmas on December 12 and 13.
Help Save the Castle and learn more about our history, events, and tours by visiting: www.prestoncastle.com.  All contributions are tax deductible.


Friday, October 9, 2015

Fiddletown's Fall Breakfast Raises Funds for Historic Schoolhouse - Sun Nov 8

Autumn is the perfect time to enjoy the colorful fall foliage and a hearty morning meal out in the country.

Visitors are invited to attend the Fiddletown Preservation Society's all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet and bake sale Sunday, Nov. 8 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Fiddletown Community Center. All proceeds benefit the restoration of the original one-room Fiddletown Schoolhouse on American Flat Road. Once restoration is complete, the schoolhouse will serve as a community learning/cultural center for small concerts, art and historical exhibits, and other public and private events.  The Preservation Society hosted the first ever public event in the schoolhouse since it closed in 1955,on August 29th with a very successful publishing party for Elaine Zorbas'  new book, "Banished and Embraced:  The Chinese in Fiddletown and the Mother Lode."

Fiddletown Schoolhouse
The structure was built in 1862, and served children in grades 1 through 8 until 1955 when the school closed and students began attending school in the town of Plymouth six miles away. The FPS began restoration efforts in 1964. The inside renovation is mostly done. The inside plumbing is complete - lines from the building to a septic holding tank are in. The schoolhouse was given a new foundation this year, thanks to the years of fundraising. Guests will be welcome to visit the schoolhouse during the breakfast.

Prices for the breakfast are $11 for adults, $3 for ages 6 to 16 and $1 for ages 5 and under. A $1 discount for the bake sale will be offered for each adult ticket purchased. Menu includes: French toast, scrambled eggs, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, bacon and sausage, pastry and muffins, fresh fruit, milk, orange juice and coffee. A separate bake sale will also be available for guests to take home a piece of Fiddletown country goodness. Additionally, the group is selling two new publications - Fiddletown Schoolhouse Memories - based on interviews with former students of the Fiddletown/Oleta School conducted by historian Elaine Zorbas, and "Banished and Embraced:  The Chinese in Fiddletown and the Mother Lode."


For more information, visit www.fiddletown.info or call (209) 245-6042.



Thursday, August 27, 2015

Kit Carson Mountain Men Ice Cream Social - Thurs Sept 3

KIT CARSON MOUNTAIN MEN are inviting you...
  
THE KIT CARSON MOUNTAIN MEN ARE HAVING AN ICE CREAM SOCIAL. WE WILL ALSO GIVE TOURS OF THE MOUNTAIN MEN HUT AND SHARE STORIES. Bring LAWN CHAIRS AND CHAT WITH US ABOUT WAGON TRAIN.


DATE: Thursday, September 3rd                       Sundae $4.00
TIME: 5:00 PM TO 7: 00 PM
PLACE: KENNEDY TAILING WHEEL PARK,
              JACKSON GATE ROAD,
              JACKSON, CA. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: 916-965-1136

Monday, August 10, 2015

Book Debut: Reception for Local Author Elaine Torbas - Sat Aug 29


Castle City Consultants Present: "If You Restore It, They Will Come" - Mon Aug 10

Castle City Consultants
Present

“If you Restore It – They Will Come”

An informal luncheon and discussion with president
David J. Schleich of the National College of Natural Medicine

Monday August 10 beginning at 12:00 Noon

At Clarks Corners in The Castle City

Since closed in June 2011 historic Preston School of Industry has
stirred intriguing conversation about what will become of this fabled
121 year old juvenile reformatory. Some thought that state departments would
have a new use for the site. Others believe that it could be taken by local
government and re-developed by the private sector. There are issues about
whether the historic campus could even be at risk of being razed –
as the Castle was first considered for the wrecking ball in the 1960’s.

President Dr. David Schleich is an educational administrator in Portland, Oregon for the
National College of Natural Medicine. He has recently shared about the growth of both
traditional and alternative health care services – by teleconference with our new Ione city
manager and a committee led by local colleagues, Castle City Consultants. Through those
discussions, Dr. Schleich has shared the impression that the historic site has potential for
developing advanced education programs in combination with health clinic services.

Clarks Corners staff will provide
the luncheon at $8.00 to cover catered food
in the conference dining room. Patrons may ask for
additional menu items that staff will bring into the dining room.

A RESOLUTION BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE
CITY OF IONE – THE CASTLE CITY –
REGARDING THE PRESERVATION OF
HISTORIC PRESTON SCHOOL OF INDUSTRY

WHEREAS – Historic Preston School of Industry is of significant cultural heritage in
the foothills region of northern California since first operated as a juvenile reformatory
in 1894, and Ione City Council Resolution 1818 of 3 May 2011 – requested an executive
order that Preston School of Industry be managed as utility operational – until donated by
legislation to local government or retained by the state for an alternative purpose;

AND WHEREAS – That Resolution was well esteemed by the Governor and an
executive order was issued for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to
continue to maintain the historic site, and the original wastewater system of the institution
requires replacement to keep the facility utility operational, and repairs to the water and
electrical systems should meet current safety code requirements;

AND WHEREAS – More than 100 exotic trees and plants were brought to the Preston
historic site from State Capitol park at the time of the World’s Fair in Sacramento in
1932, and most of these exceptional trees including rare Dawn Redwoods and tall
Mexican Palms – are either seriously drought stressed or lost altogether because several
departments have followed a stringent water conservation policy related to the current
drought;

AND WHEREAS – There are several satisfactory specialized hydroponics measures
that can preserve valued plants and trees with selective use of water while continuing to
conserve the water supply, and water conservation measures have thus rightly exempted
State Capitol park from allowing even seasonal grasses to be lost in the drought;

AND WHEREAS – A preliminary study for the City of Ione has shown potential for
development of Historic Preston School of Industry as a primary health care facility and
residential college, and there is a significant need in this region for an urgent care and
medical clinic that will function well in combination with a residential college, and a
graduate college president has visited the Castle City in order to be better informed for
consultation with other educators;

AND WHEREAS – The 1983 Historic Preservation Act provides for all state
departments to preserve the original operating features of historic resources that are
associated with a California Historic Landmark – prior to the transfer or disposition of
those resources, and prohibits razing such historic resources when an alternative purpose
is identified;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT:
The City Council of the City of Ione requests the Governor issue an executive order to
the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation – to provide for restoration
of the utilities infrastructure of the institution, and to restore or replace and maintain the
trees and plants of Historic Preston School of Industry – until sources of private and
public sector sponsorship funding are identified by state or local government for
repurposing the facility.

Exciting NEW Lantern Tour at California Cavern!


NEW Historic Lantern Tour at California Cavern 

Guests visit the Grinding Rocks. Photo by Serena Deininger.
California Cavern
announces a new and exciting historic lantern tour that incorporates
Registry Hall, which has not been apart of the standard cave walking tour since 1985.

Guests follow a guide in 1850s mining costume through the historic sections of California Cavern that were discovered during the famous California Gold Rush. The tour begins with a small set of grinding stones located just outside the cave. Guests then enter the cavern through the original entrance and view parts of the cavern that were used for meetings, church services and more. Visitors will be captivated by short readings from historic documents pertaining to the cavern's history and the rare viewing of Registry Hall that designated California Cavern as a
State Historic Landmark.
The guide reads from an historic news article about the cavern's discovery. Photo by Serena Deininger.

The entire tour will be illuminated by lamplight as each person carries an old-style lantern to negotiate the trail. The soft, low-light produced by the lanterns transports guests back to the mid-1800s by replicating the experience of early visitors to the cavern.

This amazing tour into the past is limited to 15 guests, soreservations are recommended. This tour is only available on Saturdays at5pm beginning August 1
st through September 26th
for ages 8 years and up. Cost of the tour is $19.95for adults and $12.95 for children between 8 and 12 years of age.

For information on availability, reservations and directions, please call 866-762-2837.  

FREE activities on your birthday! 

We are continuing our FREE BIRTHDAYSoffer. 

Just bring proof of your birth date on the actual day of your birthday to enjoy one of these activities FREE:

Moaning Cavern

Black Chasm Cavern

California Cavern

Questions? Call us toll free 1.866.762.2837or email us

  

If you live in Amador, Calaveras or Tuolumne County, make sure to bring your Locals Adventure Club card to receive 20% off select activities(Special tours, like this Lantern Tour is excluded, sorry!)

Live locally but not yet a member? No problem.  It's free! Just be sure to bring proof of local residency and sign up at any location!