Monday, August 8, 2011

The Gold Country, Revisited

California's Gold Country holds many treasures, some quite fancy, some just a hole in the wall. While we were homing in on daughter Deb's 50th birthday party, we did just a little touring. And found Volcano.

Volcano has got to be one of the Mother Lode's most picturesque towns. The town is named for its setting in a bowl-shaped valley which early miners thought was caused by a volcano. The town dates back to the late 1850's and was originally nicknamed "Crater City". Volcano's heyday was short-lived, however. By 1867 most of its mining operations were idle.
The Volcano Hotel, on three levels.
Nonetheless, Volcano had significant "firsts." This limestone building, the Clute Building, was originally one building on one two lots, divided by a partition, with two owners, a sash and door factory on one side, a saloon on the other. However, the basement housed the first public law school in California!

The ruins of the building were acquired in 1980 by the Volcano Theater Company, successor to the first theater group in California, founded in 1854. Today the building serves as the facade for the theater company's striking outdoor amphitheater.
The Volcano Union Inn, still serving as lodging and a restaurant
According to Wikipedia, Volcano also was the site of these firsts: first debating society in California (1854); first circulating library in California (1854); first private school in California (1855); first legal hanging in Amador County (1856); first astronomical observatory in California (1860); first solar still in California (1978)!

We were "just passing through" and didn't get a chance to do any exploring. But what a find. Because Volcano isn't on California's Highway 49 ("The Golden Chain Highway"). it is often overlooked, and has escaped much of the commercialization of other towns. As of the most recent census, the population was a whopping 115! Nice quiet little place.

We found two new Followers recently: Kitty of Pirate and Kitty, and Russ_stickacres, whose blog is called (by coincidence) Russ-Stick Acres. Welcome, kids! Hope you enjoy our little contribution to blogging society!

We'll see you again real soon, as we continue ... Our Life on Wheels.


  1. That is a lot of firsts! Thanks for the tour.

  2. Now that sounds like a place I would like to explore. Going to have to investigate that. Nice pictures.

  3. I adore these wonderful little finds along the way. Those places that aren't on the big tourist lists. So much fun.

  4. Just love that area. I've heard of Volcano, but I don't think I've been there. Great photos, don't you just love those old buildings? :)

  5. As close as I've lived to Volcano I never got around to seeing it. I may change that later on this year.


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