In the heart of the Sierra Nevada Foothills lies Sonora, California, named after the miners from Sonora Mexico who settled the City in 1848 and soon became the heart of “Gold Country.” With its rich heritage, historic charm and small town hospitality, Sonora is home to museums, art galleries and live theatre. The city also hosts numerous festivals and special events throughout the year. Just outside the City limits are year-round outdoor recreational opportunities at resorts, campgrounds, lakes, golf courses and high country waterways.
Located just a few hours inland from the San Francisco Bay Area or Central Valley, Sonora is located where state highways 108 and 49 intersect. As the closest city to world-famous Yosemite National Park, Sonora is popular with tourists and provides services to many of Yosemite’s visitors from around the world.
The Tuolumne County Film Commission describes Sonora’s scenic vistas and historical settings as “one of the country’s most versatile locations,” where more than 350 film and television series have been filmed since 1919 including such notables as The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again, Back to the Future Part III, Bad Girls, Behind the Mask of Zorro, The A-Team, Man From Shiloh, Man from U.N.C.L.E., Pale Rider, Petticoat Junction, Rawhide, Bonanza, East of Eden, Gunsmoke, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Unforgiven, and Little House on the Prairie.
The Columbia State Historia State Parks of Columbia and Railtown 1897, just a short drive from Sonora, are also a must see to get the full “Mother lode” experience.
Columbia State Historic Park, just a short drive outside of Sonora, is a must-see for those who seek the full “Mother Lode” experience. 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 working blacksmith shop, and a real stagecoach riding through town. Visitors can pan for gold, explore exhibits, ride the stagecoach, discover unique shops, and learn about the rich history of the California gold rush.
Another popular destination, Railtown 1897, is filled with preserved railroad buildings, equipment, locomotives and railroad cars. Many of these date back to Railtown’s 1897 origins. The Railtown roundhouse—a semi-circular building for housing and maintaining locomotives—stands as one of only two continuously operating steam locomotive roundhouses in the United States.
Visitors to Sonora also enjoy numerous winter and summer outdoor activities located just outside the city and in the nearby Stanislaus National Forest, including snow skiing, snowmobiling, hiking, boating, swimming, cycling, mountain climbing, and horseback riding.
Founded by Mexican miners during the California Gold Rush, Sonora was once a booming center of industry and trade in California’s Mother Lode. Most of the gold that was removable with traditional mining techniques was quickly extracted, leaving miners to use more complex and expensive mining techniques to reach deep pockets of quartz and gold.
In 1986, Sonora was chosen as one of the first “Main Street” cities in the State of California. Working with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the California Main Street program the City Council committed over a quarter of a million dollars in an effort to revitalize the city’s historic downtown. The restoration of the Sonora Opera Hall was a component of this revitalization effort. Elements of the “Main Street” program are now carried on by the Sonora Redevelopment Agency.
Living in Sonora, California
One of the best things about Sonora, of course, is the great variety of log homes in the area. The community is filled with beautiful log homes and friendly residents, and a great place to raise a family, start a business, or just plain relax and get back to nature.
California has a lot of great communities filled with every shape, style and size of log homes. We’re lucky to have clients throughout the state who trust us for restoring, repairing and building the log homes and structures they love. From great lodges in the north to cozy weekend getaways in the south, we get to see it all. In addition to this article about Sonora, we’ve also shared insights into other log home-friendly communities including Bear Valley, Mammoth, Pine Mountain Club & Frazier Park, Truckee, Lake Tahoe, and Santa Cruz. Just click on their names to read more.
For travel planners, maps, and more information about life in Sonora, visit http://tcchamber.com.
We hope this inspires you to visit this beautiful mountain community. If you decide to purchase a log home in the Sonora area, or already own one and would like an appraisal, tips for maintenance, or general advice for keeping your home in good condition, please call our California log home construction and restoration experts at 877-477-6564, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.