Columbia Diggins Tent Town 1852 – Columbia State Historic Park

Once upon a time, when gold in the hills was plentiful, miners and families moved through the undeveloped Mother Lode area. Soon tent and shanty towns began to spring up, with everything from saloons to boarding houses, restaurants to laundries, hardware stores to express offices.

It was an exciting time, with a lot of people finding a lot of gold.

While the mighty golden days are long past, we can still experience what it may have been like to live in a tent town all those years ago.

columbia diggins tent town

Early every June, Park staff and crew, as well as dozens of dedicated volunteers, turn back the clock at Columbia State Historic Park and create Columbia Diggins, Tent Town 1852.

It truly is a sight to be seen.

columbia diggings laundry

columbia diggings baby girl

columbia diggins hardware store

columbia diggins theater

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columbia diggins saloon girl

columbia diggins saloon owner

…visitors get a chance to wander through the early Tent Town, enjoy entertainment at the Theatre, step into the Saloon and order a sarsasparilla, or browse in the authentically recreated Brown’s Mercantile. Bakers produce bread out of a recreated stone and brick oven, and you can observe costumed docents demonstrating a variety of early mining techniques, and even get muddy yourself, if you choose.

“There is really nothing like it anywhere else” says Cantisano. “It is the closest thing to time travel you’ll find anywhere. It’s pretty amazing.”

columbia diggins tent town home

columbia diggins tent town home interior

columbia diggins star spangled saloon

columbia diggins coffee house

columbia diggins children family

columbia diggins water company

columbia diggins american hotel ladies

columbia diggins brick oven

“It was really an active merchant economy” said Amber Cantisano, [of Columbia State Historic Park]. “There were a lot of opportunities for people who knew how to provide a service, or were willing to bring in goods that were in high demand, such as liquor, dry goods, and provisions. And miners were willing to hand over their newly acquired riches for a few luxuries.”

columbia diggins boarding house beds

columbia diggins boarding house dining

columbia diggins outhouse sink

columbia diggins sleeping tent

columbia diggins gold mining boy

Columbia Diggins Tent Town 1852 occurs the weekend after Memorial Day, from 10:00am to 4:00pm daily, at Columbia State Historic Park, located 4 miles north of Sonora in Tuolumne County, just off highway 49.

Admission is $5 adults and $1 children under 14. Parking is free. Call 209-588-9128 for further details.

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Find out more about Columbia Diggins Tent Town 1852 HERE and Columbia State Historic Park HERE.

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Columbia State Historic Park
11255 Jackson Street
Columbia, CA 95310-9425
(209) 532-0150

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