Since 1996, Joyce Davidson's Store has been located on Old Highway 49. The historic building's highly visible south wall shouted "Levi Strauss" to all coming up to this historic town in Amador County from the south. Although the early history of this building is mostly obscure, a few close up photographs show signs in the front for a Post Office and Western Union Office.
The brick wall at the front shows some of the building challenges of the Gold Rush era. There were many hardnesses of bricks. Hard, high temperature fired bricks were expensive and usually only purchased by cash-rich entities the Consolidated Keystone Mine Company. Its main office, just south of this building on the hill has these tough, weather resistant bricks throughout. On the other hand, small businesses usually built out of the less expensive and softer, low fired bricks. Over time, the mortar proved more durable than the brick! To combat surface degradation, walls were often plastered over. So, the front and side walls of The Kitchen Store, you can see these soft fired brick and how the weather of 130 plus years takes it toll on outside walls.
There were similar issues on the inside walls. The front surfaces of the softer, low fired bricks lose their original surface. To combat the sloughing and eliminate brick dust, plastering was layered over and over again. Right here, you get a mini-history in the building materials of the middle and late 1800s.
There is physical evidence that the building was a dance hall. And where there were dancing girls, there was beer. The raised platform where the wine tasting is currently located was probably a stage for performances. There are holes in the original floor, the size needed for beer taps coming up from the basement. Most likely this was a rip roaring place in the early mining days!
Joyce and son Ian live three blocks away. They staff an eclectic selection of carefully selected tabletop and kitchen items. Like the mercantile stores of the Gold Rush era, they are packed with everything needed for a well appointed dining room and kitchen. The Davidson Family actually uses the historic brass cash register. One like this would have been on a 1870s counter.
In the mix of merchandise are colorful are patchwork place mats made from recycled fabric pieces by the Amador City fabric artist, Janet Spenser. They are perfect for white ware table settings. Bowls and cutting boards are made from eco friendly, sustainable bamboo. Modern oil cloth bolts gesture back to the time when this material was in widespread use throughout a home. Classic patterns abound.
Joyce's friend and Amador City resident Janet Spenser lives three blocks away from the store. Her finely crafted patchwork quilted pieces - pot holders, place mats and table runners - display the classic designs used by women during the Gold Rush days. Janet participates in major craft and country shows in the area. The Kitchen Store has an extensive selection of colors of her work. They make wonderful presents for far away friends and family as they are so easy to ship.
Astutely selected merchandise for your enjoyment means that you will not get lost in the cacophony of a huge store filled with stuff that will never, ever be used. Discover how easy it is to fill in that missing piece of kitchen equipment or dining table appointment you could not find anywhere else. See how a splash of color on the table livens an ordinary table. Find a special wine item for the needed hostess present.
Joyce has free National Geographic Geotourism maps for the entire region. It is a fantastic presentation of this historically rich area and a wonderful itinerary to mail to friends about your adventures in the region.
Come on in, get your Geotourism Map and discover the best!