Located in the heart of the California Mother Lode, Columbia State Historic Park is a living gold rush town featuring the largest single collection of existing gold rush-era structures in the state. Visiting Columbia is like traveling back in time to the sights, smells, and sounds of a nineteenth century mining town—merchants dressed in 1850′s attire, a whiff of coal smoke from the blacksmith shop, and the rumble of a stagecoach pulling into town!
Spend the day enjoying fun activities for the whole family. Pan for gold, explore exhibits, ride the stagecoach, discover unique shops, and learn about the rich history of the California gold rush on a guided town tour. The town's old Gold Rush-era business district has been preserved with shops, restaurants and two hotels. Visitors have the chance to time-travel to the 1850s, imagining life when gold miners rubbed shoulders with businessmen and the other residents in Columbia. Visitors can experience a bygone era watching proprietors in period clothing conduct business in the style of yesterday.
The park was once known as the "Gem of the Southern Mines." Between the 1850s and 1870s over one billion dollars in gold (at today's value) was mined in the area. For a time, Columbia was the second largest city in California.
Unlike many other settlements that disappeared due to fire, vandalism and time, Columbia survived. It was never completely deserted. In 1945 the State Legislature made the site a State Historic Park in order to preserve a typical Gold Rush town, an example of one of the most colorful eras in American history.
Other highlights include taking a walk to the two-story brick school house and cemetery overlooking town, or hiking the one-mile nature trail where mule deer and wild flowers may be seen.