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East Sonora and Standard, California
Today the East Sonora area is Tuolumne County's retail business center-with mostly restaurants and shopping. You can still see its historical roots with some of the granite monuments, plus some historic buildings at town of Standard. Standard was once the center of a thriving sawmill and logging industry and the main junction point for railroads that went deep into the forest to haul logs to the sawmills. Today one sawmill remains, and you can see trains pulling cut lumber on its way to market.

Shopping is concentrated at two major centers: the Crossroads center just east of downtown Historic Sonora, and the Junction center further east on Mono Road. Each has restaurants and shopping.

There are two motels in the area: the Best Western Sonora Oaks and the Aladdin. Most of the lodging in the area is in downtown Sonora, with some in Jamestown and Columbia, and the remainder up toward the forest in Twain Harte, Mi Wuk Village, and near Pinecrest Lake.

The Sierra Repertory Theatre is located in East Sonora, just east of the Junction Shopping Center on Mono Road.

What's New: A new Mexican restaurant has opened, Garcia's Taqueria and Wraps, next to the Fuel Depot on Mono Road, just outside of the Junction Shopping Center.

The photo below is that of a historic building, used early in the 20th century as a hospital.

The photo below is part of an exhibit of logging machinery next to the county library on Greenley Road. This is a "steam donkey", used with ropes and pulleys to move timber.


Video of the 2012 Amgen Tour Bicycle Race (Sonora to
Clovis leg) includes shots from the Mother Lode Roundup.
Standard and the Pickering Lumber Co.
In the late 1880s various technological developments, including pneumatic drills, better explosives, and more economical ways of extracting gold from low-grade quartz ore resulted in a second Gold Rush, this one focused on underground mining.

This caused a huge demand for lumber to support the underground mining operations. And there was also a demand for lumber for building houses in the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere in California.

Initially lumber was cut by sawmills in the forest, with cut lumber transported by mule trains, but economics and insurance issues resulted in the sawmills being moved down into the foothills. In 1898, the Sierra Railway was constructed from Oakdale to Jamestown, and the line was soon extended into the forest. In 1899, the West Side Flume and Lumber Company was created, with the initial plan of transporting logs through water-filled wooden flumes to the foothills. This was later modified to use a railroad. A sawmill was built in what is now the town of Tuolumne.

The second major lumber company was the Standard Lumber Company, which eventually created what was essentially a company town in Standard. These companies not only supplied lumber for underground mines and houses, but to factories in the area that produced wooden boxes and doors. The Sugar Pine Railway was built in the forest through what is now Twain Harte and into the Pinecrest Lake area, and hauled lumber to a sawmill in Standard. In 1921, the Pickering Lumber Company acquired both the Standard Lumber Company and the Sugar Pine Railroad, and later the West Side Lumber Company (after they had changed their name, no longer planning a flume). This huge lumber company operated until the depression in the 1930s, when hard times caused them to shut down. In the late thirties they revived again and by the 1960s had changed their log hauling to trucks rather than railroads.

After several changes of ownership, the lumber operation was purchased by the current owner, Sierra Pacific Industries. In 2009, SPI closed the last sawmill in Standard, but in 2011 redesigned it to allow processing of smaller logs and reopened it. A second mill in Chinese Camp produces cedar fencing.

What is now known as the Sierra Northern Railway continues to carry cut lumber from the mills to market. More recently, harvesting of lumber from dead trees from the Rim fire area has accelerated so as to process the lumber before it decays.

Live Theatre
East Sonora is the location of Sonora Repertory Theatre's Sonora stage.

Shows for 2014:
At East Sonora Theatre

Pump Boys and Dinettes. June 12 - July 27, 2014.

All My Sons. August 29 - September 21, 2014.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee October 24 - November 23,2014.

(Sierra Repertory Theatre also has other shows at the Fallon House in Columbia. See their web site Sierra Repertory Theatre.)

The lumber mill is shown below: