Amador City, Heart of the Gold Rush Country
Photo © Karrie Lindsay
"Amador City stands today among the liveliest and most go ahead towns on the Pacific Coast. It is situated in a romantic spot on the Drytown wagon road, two miles from the Creek. Old landmarks in the shape of frame business houses have disappeared and substantial brick edifices risen in their stead." This was written in the Sacramento Daily Union, January 27, 1879!
Jose Maria Amador, a wealthy California rancher, mined along a nameless creek in 1848 - 1849. Later in 1854 his name was used to designate the town and a new county in California - Amador County. Gold mines surrounded the area, bringing miners and necessary businesses. In 1915 the town was incorporated. Still a viable working town today, Amador City is the smallest incorporated city in the state, located on the Golden Chain Highway.
The oldest known substantial structure was most likely built around 1855 and is now part of the Amador Hotel. The oldest store in the City dates from the 1860s. Electricity came in the mid-1860s and telephone service in 1878. Some historians believe that there were more than 4,000 folks in the City during the height of the Gold Rush.
The street names in Amador City paint a unique picture: God's Hill, School Street, Cross Street, Pig Turd Alley, Church Street, Bunker Hill, Water Street and Stringbean Alley to name a few. In fact, you could gently walk every street in the City in under 1 1/2 hours.
Rather than become an uninhabited ghost town, a few Amador City residents and shop keepers would not let it die. Today, it is a prime example of a historic town retaining its look and feel of a thriving Gold Rush town from 150 years ago. Come and explore our engaging museum dedicated to the role of women in the Gold Rush era, stay at the fine lodging establishment, enjoy food from comfort to hand crafted bakery items to fine dining and shop at the eclectic shops. Click here to view the web cam looking over the Sierra Nevada Foothills that surround Amador City.
Explore Amador City with the free, self-guided walking tour map available between County Living and the Putz and Murphy stores. The tour takes about an hour. The accompanying photographic essay shows only a portion of our historic city!