Marshall’s cabin

James Marshall really was one unlucky guy. All he wanted to do was work hard at his trade as a carpenter and millwright; but after he accidentally uncovered a small piece of gold in the American River his life was turned upside down. He no longer had the chance to work, and he never managed to profit from the historic […]

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Chinese stores

When I first visited the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park as a young schoolkid, I was especially fascinated by the two small buildings known as the Chinese Stores. I think it was partly because these two small buildings are authentic structures from the 1850s, not replicas. I liked to imagine the Chinese miners going in and out of the […]

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Quiet history

The men and women who built St John’s Catholic Church and worshipped there, who now lie buried in the adjoining cemetery, most likely were never famous. Although their names may never be found in the history books, they created a community in the town of Coloma — and in their own ways, quietly helped shape the course of the events […]

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Transit Center

San Francisco’s Salesforce Transit Center officially opened in the late summer of 2018 — but only six weeks later it was shut down again, due to the discovery of cracks in the structural steel girders. Although I’d already seen the exterior on previous visits to the city, I finally got a chance to explore the inside this past August. I […]

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Nob Hill

Prior to the 1850s, Nob Hill was called California Hill (after California Street, which climbs its steep eastern face), but was renamed after the Central Pacific Railroad’s Big Four – known as the Nobs – who built their mansions on the hill… The neighborhood was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire, except for the granite walls surrounding the Stanford, Crocker, Huntington and […]

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