Our community was founded on the rich history of gold mining and the early settlement of the Western States. The Amador Community Foundation holds several funds that support both specific historical sites as well as historical preservation in Amador County. Amador Community Foundation ensures donations are directed to either a specific fund or towards historic preservation in general.
Miner’s Park in Sutter Creek, Amador County
Working with the Amador Community Foundation, one of Sutter Creek’s vacant lots at the South end of Main Street was transformed into an amazing historical display of Gold Mining history by the Sutter Creek Community Benefit Foundation. Artifacts from the Argonaut Mine and the Sutter Gold Mine were donated to show visitors and residents the rich Sutter Creek Gold Mining history. Along with the mining artifacts, the new park has informative plaques for the artifacts, picnic benches, trees, and “Chinese” rock walls lining the park, which are historic for the area. On June 1st, 2015 ‘Miners’ Park was dedicated by Sutter Creek Mayor Jim Swift. Generous donations funded this successful project. Learn More: sccbf.org.
Willow Springs Elementary School, Amador County
The Amador Community Foundation helped kick off the restoration project with a grant to paint and repair the roof of the historic Willow Springs Elementary School on Jackson Road (Hwy. 16)
The Sutter Creek Fire District (SCFD) and the Sutter Creek Volunteer Fire Department (SCVFD) initiated a Fire History Program in 2005/2006 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Sutter Creek Fire District (The SCVFD is much older, dating from at least 1869).
The old Amador City Fire Station was converted into a small museum to house a 1939 Dodge Firetruck built in Sutter Creek. In addition, vintage fire-fighting equipment is on display along with wall displays related to the fire history of Amador City. The material costs for this project were supplied by the Amador Community Foundation, the City of Amador City, SCFD/SCVFD and local donations.
SCFD/SCVFD has also relocated the first Sutter Creek fire bell to the Main Fire Station and placed a historic marker related to the bell. Other projects include:
- Create signage and repair the existing fire bell tower on Main Street at City Hall and reconstruct the fire hose cart by the first Hose Cart Company #3.
- Recreate the first Sutter Creek fire truck that was built by local mechanics in the 1920’s using a 1920’s era Dodge Brothers light truck with a chemical fire extinguisher that had been purchased in 1912, along with a hose reel, ladder and other fire fighting equipment.
- Rehab and develop the old Sutter Creek Firehouse on Main Street (circa 1930’s)
The organization is committed to preserving local history and providing interactive tourist attractions for Amador County. Learn more: suttercreekfirehistory.org.
Logging and mining played a key role in the economy of Amador County beginning in the 1800s. California’s only operational steam powered splinter sawmill from that era is owned and operated by the Amador Sawmill and Mining Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving this bit of our heritage.
The sawmill, operated by volunteers since 1968, is an authentic, antique mill. Sawmills like this were once located throughout Amador County and the Mother Lode region from the 1850s through the 1940s. Historically, lumber from these small sawmills was typically used to shore up tunnels in mine shafts to prevent cave-ins and for sluice boxes and flumes.
The Amador Community Foundation granted funds to help toward the cost of installing a boiler providing steam to the engine. Now, the working sawmill can be seen on display during the Amador County Fair in July, and is available for custom cut jobs for non-profits, museums, and governmental museums that want rough cut timbers or lumber for historic restoration & preservation projects.
At long last, the Knight Foundry will be preserved forever for our community.
In January 2017 the Knight Foundry Alliance was formed, working closely with the City of Sutter Creek, the Sutter Creek Community Benefit Foundation and the Amador Community Foundation to launch this historic project implementing urgent security and stabilization repairs. As a historic jewel, Knight Foundry has become a world-class interactive museum and educational center. The irreplaceable, invaluable, and unique historic equipment and machinery that is still in place in its original context is being cleaned, cataloged, and restored to preserve technologies that may never be replicated. Learn more: knightfoundry.com.