Info & History in Sonora
BAER'S CLOTHING (HISTORIC)
Baer's Clothing was founded by one of many Jews who became merchants rather than gold miners during the Gold Rush. Another was Michel Goldwater. Michel eventually moved to Arizona, where he had a very successful clothing business. He was the grandfather of Barry Goldwater, U.S. Senator from Arizona and presidential candidate in 1964. (The sign shown in the photo is no longer there.)
This monument marks the location of what was once a thriving Chinatown section of Sonora. Click for details.
SONORA CITY HALL
The city hall was first built in the 1870s as a fire house. (A replica of what it looked like is across the street.) It was then expanded to include city government. The walls inside the present City Hall have many historic photographs.
HOURS: Mon-Fri 8am-4pm, Sat-Sun closed.
CITY HOTEL BUILDING (HISTORIC)
The City Hotel was, in the 1850s, an elegant hotel, seen for many years as one of the best hotels in California. An oak tree nearby was the setting of the final result of a Gold Rush murder mystery (click for the story).
TUOLUMNE COUNTY COURTHOUSE
Courthouse built in 1898 on the site of the original 1853 courthouse, established in efforts to promote order during the chaos of the Gold Rush and soon after the United States took control of California from Mexico and California had entered the Union.
D. SERVENTE GROCERY & SALOON
Now a bar, this brick building was completed in 1856 as a dry goods store and later became a grocery. It was taken over by Domingo Servente in 1926, who added liquor and the bar in 1932 when prohibition was repealed. The grocery carried imported Mediterrean goods for the large Italian population in Sonora. Click for details of this historic building.
Museum devoted to fires in Sonora and fire equipment. On display is a hand operated fire "engine", hand carts, historic hats, nozzles, hoses, call boxes, fire extinguishers, and photos. Doubles as senior lounge. Click for details of the history of fires in Sonora.
HOURS: Mon-Wed closed, Thurs-Sat 8am-1pm, Sun closed. Expected to be open Wed and Sun soon.
ALBERT FRANCISCO BUILDING
County of Tuolumne office building named for the founder of the Sonora Union Democrat newspaper, who wrote editorials favoring secessionism in the 1850s. There is a small museum open weekdays during restricted hours.
HOURS: Mon-Fri 8am-3pm, Sat-Sun closed.
HAND FIRE CART
This hand-pulled fire cart was used in the 1800s.
SHAW'S FLAT HISTORICAL MARKER
The plaque reads: "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... On a nearby hill [sic] stands the old bell given by miners which summoned men to work and announced the governing of various courts. According to tradition, a local bartender added to his income by panning gold dust dropped on his muddy boots while serving customers."
SHAY LOCOMOTIVE EXHIBIT
This early 20th century locomotive is an unusual design--slow speed, lots of traction, and an ability to navigate tight curves. It was used in the high country to carry logs on the Sugar Pine Railway.
This Queen Anne house was built in 1896 and is also known as the Morgan Mansion and the Red Mansion. It was built on the site of the former United States Hotel, after it burned down, was rebuilt, and burned down a second time.
TUOLUMNE COUNTY MUSEUM & HISTORY CENTER
Museum has many artifacts & photographs concerning the Gold Rush, quartz mining, the emigration west, and life in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The museum is housed in the old stone jail, circa 1857.
HOURS: Mon-Fri 10am-4pm, Sat 10am-3:30pm, Sun closed. Closed some holidays. History Research Center hours Tues & Thurs 9am-noon.
The Opera Hall was built to replace a flour mill on the site that burned down in August 1885. For a decade, the hall held plays, exhibits, and fairs. The building then served as a carpentry shop and then a garage until 1986 when it was acquired by the City of Sonora and restored.
PROSPECTOR PARK (MINING EXHIBIT)
Tiny park includes several pieces of Gold Rush and quartz-age mining equipment, including an arastra, a Pelton Wheel, and a stamping machine.
RED CHURCH (ST. JAMES EPISCOPAL CHURCH)
Historic church first built in 1860, then rebuilt in 1868 when a fire almost completely destroyed it.
ROTHER'S CORNER HISTORICAL MARKERX
Historical marker is in tiny park with benches. This was once the location of the home of William Rother, who came to Sonora in 1857. His son William Jr served as fire chief of the Eureka Engine Company, one of Sonoras early volunteer fire companies.
This historic building, often known as the Sonora Dome, can be seen from far off, especially when the dome reflects the sun. It was originally built in the early 1900s as an elementary school.
This house was built beginning in 1857 by a former slave, William Sugg. He had limited means and the first stage of the house was built with bricks made from mud and straw and the roof was made of cut-up 5-gallon tin cans. Click for the story.
SONORA UNION DEMOCRAT (HISTORIC)
Building is current home of the Sonora Union Democrat, which began publishing in 1854. The site itself was once where the Long Tom Saloon stood. Click for a discussion of newspapers during the Gold Rush.
VETERANS MEMORIAL BUILDING
Built in 1932 to honor all veterans. Military museum inside has exhibits on various wars with photographs, posters, uniforms, hats, medals, military gear, guns, swords, knives, helmets. Free admission.