Columbia in 1970

The Anecdotal History of Columbia

The Anecdotal History of Columbia

As a class project, the students of Mrs. Øydegaard's Hands-on History elective at a local elementary school, gathered a plethora of tales representing each decade of 20th century Columbia State Historic Park history. Columbia, known since the early gold rush years, as the "Gem of the Southern Mines," has been a town since 1850 and a state historic park since 1945. Thousands of school children and other visitors come each year to experience a real gold rush town and, as you can learn from the Columbia Memories recorded here, they keep coming back for a myriad of good reasons.

A memory might not make it into the history book, lacking factual backing, but even so, it ought to have a place to be recorded and shared. Many a memory that seemed too fanciful to be true has been validated by some late-coming evidence. On the other hand, and probably more often, stories are related as fact, when they ought to be retold as “just stories,” lacking significant reality and truth (an “art form” the movie-making industry has perfected).

Here we share our Columbia memories, whether laden with fact or fiction, as well as give readers a chance to compare, validate, or provide the missing factual information making this blog an educational exchange as well as a place to tell our cherished tales of Columbia.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Date: 1980’s

By Don and Betty Meyer
For Elyse

One of our cherished memories of Columbia took place about thirty years ago.  In the early 1980’s, friends from our home town of Fremont, CA, moved to Sonora.  Shortly thereafter, my wife and I would frequently drive up to visit them.  There were many times that we would visit Columbia while staying in Sonora with our friends.

On one of our visits, we decided to take our families to Columbia for the day and have a picnic lunch.  Our friends’ family was a younger family of four with two young children.  Betty and I had our daughter, Michelle, and her husband with us.  After a late morning breakfast, on a beautiful summer day in June, we packed up both families and headed out for an afternoon of exploring the quaint and historic town.

We spent quite some time walking up one side of the street and down the other touring the historic buildings and seeing the old firehouse, bank, and the saloon where we would always stop and to get a sarsaparilla.  I can also remember visiting the black smith shop.  We moseyed through all the shops and took in the sights.  It was also fun to see the stage coach as it roared through town and visit the gold panning area.

After visiting the historic town, we had a picnic lunch under the trees, relaxed in the sunshine and the kids played Frisbee.  I can remember walking down the gravel path to the picnic tables.  It  was lovely day with family and friends.  We always loved our visits to Columbia and we still do.

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