April 28th 2012 is the scheduled date for one of MidCal MINIs favorite runs. This fun trip to the Gold Country of California is the Annual Jamestown Run held by the MidCal MINIs Club. This year’s run, taking place in April as it did last year, avoids the heat of summer and provides many more opportunities for vistas of wild flowers. Currently it is anticipated that the run as usual will start from the Starbucks parking lot at Shaw and Highway 41 at 8:30 am with the first stop at Raley’s in Oakhurst to meet up with the mountain MINIs. Last year the group toured the old mining community of Columbia. In prior years, the group took a scenic ride on the Jamestown Steam Engine.
A walk down Main Street in Historic Jamestown is a step back in time. A few blocks east of the historic downtown area is the State park Railtown. This park has preserved much of the Sierra Railway, built in 1897 to link the very isolated areas, at that time, to Oakdale and the rest of the rail network. The line carried lumber from sawmills in Tuolumne City and Standard to the outside world. It also carried quartz ore to processing plants in the Bay Area where the gold was then extracted.
Columbia was only one of hundreds of settlements that sprang up during the exciting years when the cry of “Gold!” brought miners from all over the world. Columbia is located in the heart of the Mother Lode.
Unlike many of these settlements, which have long since succumbed to fire, vandalism, and the elements, Columbia has never been completely deserted. Through the years it has retained much the same appearance as when miners thronged its streets. Recognizing an opportunity to preserve a typical Gold Rush town as an example of one of the most colorful eras in American history, the State legislature in 1945 created Columbia State Historic Park.