From its initial opening as a general store in the early 1800s, the historic Danielwicz building on Main Street in Mokelumne Hill has been home to many different businesses. Today, it is home to the Petroglyphe Gallery. Together, as the mother-daughter team or Denise Ebbett and Marisa Chaffey, we are delighted to invite you to this timeless and refurbished historic building, that is filled with contemporary works of art. Welcome to Petroglyphe Gallery; a link to our past and the fine art of contemporary living.
We chose the name and spelling of Petroglyphe Gallery to connect our cultural heritage with contemporary art from the building itself which is built on volcanic bedrock, to the French influence on Mokelumne Hill. Miners who worked on Mokelumne Hill's gold deposits in the late 1850s found shovels, blankets, food and anything else they might need to sustain themselves in the store that was built by two Prussian brothers. Later, between 1882 and 1912, cures of the day were found when the building housed Thomas Peters' and then his son's drug store. And again, in another transformation from 1945 to 1970, locals remember purchasing penny candy in Winkler's Store.
Prehistoric populations in Calaveras County were present as long as 12,000 years ago. Abundant evidence exists for the arrival of the Northern Miwok to the area during the last 2,000 to 3,000 years. The Miwuk of the Mokelumne River resided on both sides of the river. The name Muquelumnes was first recorded in 1817 by Spanish Franciscan Father Narcisco Duran and is thought to be the Yokut word Mokelumni for the "people of the Mokel." With the discovery of gold in 1848, the land was quickly overrun by gold seekers, game virtually disappeared, and the population was decimated.
The first non-natives to live in the area were reputedly French trappers who settled in Happy Valley in the 1830s. By the end of 1848, Mokelumne Hill was established as a trading center for the booming gold camps. During the 1850s, Mokelumne Hill was the leading town of Calaveras County and one of the liveliest, largest, and principal mining communities of the Mother Lode. It served as the site of the Calaveras County Courthouse between 1852 and 1866, adding to its political importance.
Early Mokelumne Hill had an ethnically diverse population, notably consisting of French, Germans, Chinese, Irish, Mexican, Jews and Chileans, as well as the numerous Yankees from the east. The decline in mining and relocation of the courthouse to San Andreas in 1866, influenced the exodus of many of the town's inhabitants. By the latter 1800s, cattle ranching became the most important agricultural activity and grazing lands still dominate the town's surrounding landscape. Today, Mokelumne Hill is a community uniquely dominated by descendants of its pioneer families, while integrating newcomers.
A perfect setting for art, Petroglyphe Gallery is filled with natural light and elegant architectural detail; featuring original contemporary works of art in oil, acrylic, watercolor, glass, ceramic and jewelry. Also on display are limited edition bronze sculptures and copper plate etching prints. The gallery represents North American artists, many from California and from the surrounding area. One of the gallery's featured artists is renowned watercolorist Dale Laitinen from nearby Mountain Ranch. Laitinen has been painting for over 40 years and is known for his watercolors of the American West and most notably his Sierra Nevada landscapes.
We often hold on-site demonstrations and workshops giving the opportunity to interact with one of the gallery's many artists.