Friday, November 29, 2013

Volcano, Amador County, California

My family has a house about 20 minutes away from Volcano, California. As kids we would drive down here and explore all the old mining equipment and shop at the hippie jewelry shops. During a Thanksgiving trip up to the house this last year, we decided, after years of not visiting the area, to take a hike around and explore the National Natural Landmark at Black Chasm Caverns.

Not much open on Black Friday. To be more specific, nothing was open and no one was out and about in downtown Volcano; a census designated place (CDP). Take your time walking through the city, it's a 5 minute walk from start to end. However, for such a small town, there is so much history and is considered the “gem of the Gold Country”.

Mildred Hoover’s commented in her authoritative book, Historic Spots in California, “Volcano is the Sleepy Hollow of the West. One can look for goblins in the ghost rocks or headless horseman to come galloping from the steep wooded mountain road.”

Old Abe was cast in bronze by Cyrus Alger & Co. in Boston in 1837 and now resides at the intersection of Main and Consolation Street in downtown Volcano.

This 800lb cannon held by the Valcano Blues was only fired once during the civil war.

"Old Abe" was fired down main street causing windows to break in the shops that had not been warned or who were sympathetic to the south. Go Valcano Blues!!

"Hydraulic mining operations (high pressure water jets to wash gravel away from mountainsides), begun in 1855, brought thousands of fortune seekers to form a town of 17 hotels, a library, a theater, and courts of quick justice."

A rusty mining trolley, pushed or pulled by men and animals, sits just outside the famous St. George Hotel.

"The historical "Mother Lode" belts the county entirely across, extending north into El Dorado and south into Calaveras, and in Amador are found the most important and most numerous leads upon it."

Cobblestone sidewalks in downtown Volcano

Platform base of Bandstand is reconstruction of original portable bandstand built around 1856.

Portable bandstand in Volcano and me.

Cool, old 7UP sign on the main market

Jug & Rose Baking Company gets 5 star rating on

Historic downtown Volcano and Jug and Rose Baking Company.

Main Street Volcano, California 2014

Volcano Jail, built 1857

The jail is virtually escape proof, and the story goes that its first prisoners were the men who constructed it.

The Masonic Lodge, built in 1856 by Samuel Hayes and James Adams

Later that day we took a guided tour of the Black Chasm Caverns, designated a national natural landmark in 1976 because of it's rare helictite formations.

Due to low light and my iPhone, my photos do not do this type of formation justice. You must see this in person.

a wide variety of formations including stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones and the vast arrays of rare helictite crystals, for which Black Chasm Cavern is justly famous.

Although small, Volcano is a town of many "firsts":
1854 First theater group in California
1854 First debating society in California
1854 First circulating library in California
1855 First private schools in California
1855 First private law school in California
1856 First legal hanging in Amador County
1860 First astronomical observatory in California
1978 First solar still in California,_California

Volcano (No. 29 California Historical Landmark)

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