Owner Kay Jensen still has her original childhood dolls. Born in Sacramento, she moved here in 1974 to raise her family in the friendly environment of Amador City.
The original Torres Hall had several early additions as Amador City expanded with more and more miners moving into town. Unlike so many of the buildings in this historic Gold Rush town, Torres Hall was continually added to, reconfigured, and re-purposed. On Saturday nights, after the dancing on the third floor ended, dinner was served from the restaurant. In 1932, the owners decided to remove the third floor.
After World War II, the ground floor was turned into a saloon, a winery and then a tasting room and game area.
Kay Jensen and her husband, Jack Swagerty have as many interests as the building has had businesses! With a life long love of dolls, Kay is an internationally recognized appraiser and a member of two prestigious organizations: The United Federation of Doll Clubs http://www.ufdc.org/ and and the National Antique Doll Dealers Association http://www.nadda.org/
The best dolls of the classic era came from France and Germany; however, the biggest market for them was in the United States. Dolls were made in the U.S. for about three years during this time, but quality was inferior to European imports. U.S. 'fine' dolls did not sell well and were discontinued. Girls wanted dolls from Europe.
Only mine managers or mine owner families in a town like Amador City who could afford a fine china doll from Europe. It probably cost around $1.00. In the 1950s doll collecting became very popular in America. Huge quantities of dolls still in European collections were sent here for sale. Then, as European interest in dolls surged, Europeans came here to buy the dolls back.
Now new collectors and sophisticated doll aficionados come to Jensen's Antique Dolls, Bears and Toys from all over the world.
Toys, bears, and other wonderful vintage and antique children's things fill the cases! Off street parking is just down the driveway on the north side of the building.