Old Town Columbia is the perfect place to discover California’s past because it is the best preserved Gold Rush town. With many events going on throughout the year and so many things to do on a daily basis, Old Town Columbia is a great place to spend the day. In 1850, Dr. Thaddeus Hildreth, his brother George and a handful of other people discovered gold. People flocked into the area to try and get a piece of the gold for himself. There isn’t an natural irrigation, like rivers or lakes, in the area, so they were forced to build an irrigation system to Columbia. This being successful, by 1852, more than 150 stores , shops, saloons, and other enterprises popped up. However in 1854, all the buildings in the business district except one were destroyed in a fire. When the town was rebuilt, they used brick, iron doors, window shutters, and bricks on the roofs. Disaster struck again in 1857 when a fire destroyed all the frame structures in the business district. It was then the townspeople of Columbia started a volunteer fire department.
In 1860, when most of the easy-to-find gold was gone, people began to leave. As people left, the buildings started to fall apart. In 1920s/30s people tried to get Columbia turned into a state park, but it wasn’t until 1945 that Columbia State Historic Park was born.
Now that you know the history, here are some of the great activities you may participate in to relive the Gold Rush days. You may climb rocks, take a stagecoach ride, go horseback riding, gold panning, eat old fashioned candies, buy a prairie girl outfit, go hiking, camping, enjoy a show, Here is a list of merchants and coupons: http://www.columbiacalifornia.com/columbia_activities.html To see special events and more information, please visit their website at http://www.columbiacalifornia.com/.