The Mountain Messenger Newspaper

Enjoy a newspaper that traces its origins to the California Gold Rush and visit the historic building where it has been published since the 1850s. With roots dating to 1853, the Mountain Messenger continues that tradition by covering today’s news in this gold rush town. Whether covering Sierra County government, local events, or even the local sheriff’s blotter, Editor/Curmudgeon Don Russell and his staff provide a uniquely local slant on the community.

Purported to be California’s oldest weekly publication, the Mountain Messenger is published weekly in Downieville and is Sierra County’s only legal publication. The Mountain Messenger dates to 1853 and began publication as the Gibsonville Trumpet in the former mining camp of Gibsonville, Sierra County. The paper was sold in 1855 and moved to La Porte, then in Sierra County and renamed The Mountain Messenger. In 1864 the paper moved to Downieville where it has been continuously published since.

The Messenger offices are open to the public. Office hours are generally 9 am to 4 pm, but with a limited staff, it's good to call first. And with a Thursday publishing date, Wednesday is not a good day to visit. Historic issues of the Messenger are available on microfilm at the California State Library in Sacramento.

Available countywide at newsstands at 50 cents an issue, the Mountain Messenger is also available by subscription. For addresses outside Sierra County, a yearly subscription is $30 or $55 for two years. Inside Sierra County, rates are $25 for a year or $46 for two.

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Latitude: 39.5604648 Longitude: -120.8276798 Elevation: 2897 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Lee Adams

Seasons Open

Published year round

ADA Accessibility Notes

Housed on the second floor of an 1853 historic building, the Messenger offices are not ADA accessible.

Pet Friendly Notes

If Editor Don Russell is allowed in the offices, so are even badly behaved dogs.


seen your little town on tv on the california back roads show.what a piece heaven you good folks have.stay golden.louis angel/sacramento,ca.

louis angel, 8/29/2013

I am enchanted by your history. Please help me find Teresa and Shirley Snider, former residents of downieville, they owned a pub and shops. Sincerely Hilda Fanta e-mail:

Hilda Fanta, 4/7/2014

Would like to access your archives for the years 1971-1974 if you have them. My brother was on the front page after the 4th of July street races. Any way I could do that?

Stacy Fewlass, 8/15/2014

I’m like everyone else doing family research. I think my 13, 1855. His father was Hial Tyler. Hial’s wife was Louisa Bernard Tyler. The 186 census lists her still in Downieville He may have also died in California. Family lore was that he did discover gold and was killed in a gun fight over the claim. My Grandfather George Edward Tyler was born in Downieville December 13, 1855. Is there a way I could research your records to see if there is any record of their births, deaths, etc?

David Tyler e-mail, 1/29/2015

Trying to locate history concerning a pilot from Loyalton who, I think, published "The Mountain Messenger" and dropped it from an airplane. Can you help?

David Ellwood, 9/17/2018

Well Sir, I just read a front page article on Mr. Russell & The Mountain Messenger in today's edition of The Los Angeles Times and now I am intrigued. I bet that I will not be the only So.Cal guy whose curiosity results in getting a subscription to, "The Mess." Reeve Rickard Burbank, CA

Reeve Rickard, 1/7/2019

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