As one travels East on Highway 16 from Sacramento, they journey through little California Gold Rush era towns with names like Slough House and Bridge House, before reaching the Highway 49 turnoff heading south. About 35 miles from Sacramento, travelers reach Amador City, three miles south of Dry Town, 2 miles north of another historic community, Sutter Creek, and just 4 more miles on into Jackson.
A favorite activity I have with a few of my grandkids, is to have them visit me for a "Paint Your Wagon" weekend. For those of you who remember the old 1970s Lee Marvin movie by that name, you will recall it as a hilarious comedy of California Gold Rush antics in "fictitiously" named "No Name City" - which I am certain is a spoof on Jackson, California (approximately 6 miles from Amador City). The kids and I generally start off Friday night watching the flick while picnicking and camping out on my living room floor. The next morning we rise early, jump in the car, and head to Gold Country, to explore, visit mines and caverns in the area, and to dine on ice cream.
Between Sacramento and Jackson, there is a daisy chain of these little gold rush towns and communities steeped with rich mining and pioneer history.
Even before the California Gold Rush was spurred by the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, John Sutter had a lumbering operation in the vicinity of Amador City.
When I view old photographs from the 1860s to present day, I am amazed at how little change has come to the little community. The major change is the paved road that now occupies what was once only dirt.
Amador City is named after Jose' Maria Amador, who with his companions set up camp in 1848, to collect gold from the creek bottom. Amador was well-known as a ranchero from the Livermore Valley. He had left his comfortable home in search of riches in this wild Sierra Foothill countryside.
For more history on Amador City you can visit:
http://www.historichwy49.com/amador/amadorhistory.html and http://www.amador-city.com/
For Gold Rush Country activities in the 40 mile vicinity between Sacramento and Jackson - including cavern tours, gold mine tours, dining and lodging, you can visit: