- A Karen Brown Recommendation
Leaving Jamestown, continue up the main street and cross Hwy 49 onto Jamestown Road, a peaceful little byway that avoids the congestion of Sonora, and takes you through the countryside to Columbia. Follow signs for Columbia or, wherever a junction is unmarked, continue straight. A 15-minute drive brings you to Parrot Ferry Road on the outskirts of the town. In the 1850s Columbia was one of the largest towns in California, with many saloons, gaming halls, and stores. Today the main street is closed to car traffic and has been restored as a state park to reflect the dusty, raucous days when Columbia was the “gem of the southern mines.” The renovated buildings of Main Street are like exhibits that make learning fun. Be sure to visit the Wells Fargo office, fire station, candy store, mining museum, and concession shops where costumed citizens sell goods appropriate to the period. You can enjoy a cold sarsaparilla at the saloon, munch candy rocks at the Candy Kitchen, and pan for gold at the mining shack. It is great fun to climb aboard a stagecoach for a ride through the town or take a tour to the Hidden Treasure Mine. Both the Fallon and City Hotel have been restored by the State of California to mirror the look of two of Columbia’s hotels in Gold Rush days. The City Hotel on Main Street has a less ornate Victorian decor, reflecting the Columbia of the 1860s. Important to note: The Fallon and the City Hotels have been temporarily closed (as of June 21, 2009) pending new management.