"Queen of the Southern Mines" Sonora by WulfstanTraveller

Sonora Travel Guide: 28 reviews and 95 photos

Sonora is the county seat of Tuolumne County and has close to 5,000 people. It is the largest town in the immediate area and is much bigger than any of the communities in the other nearby old mining/foothill/Sierra counties of Calaveras, Alpine, or Mariposa. As a result of its rich, glorious past and its continued relatively large size, it has quite a substantial downtown with many old buildings, restaurants, parks, etc.

Originally founded by Mexican miners from Sonora shortly after gold was discovered in the area in about 1848, it was incorporated in 1851. It was for a long time th primary commercial centre of the region during the mining days and was the southern counterpart to Nevada City in the north.

The city's historical importance is still clearly evident. It has one of the largest and most bustling downtowns and old areas of any of the old gold towns, ranking with Nevada City, Grass Valley, Auburn, and Placerville.

It is also one of the most picturesque of the old gold towns. This is partly a result of the fact that no freeway was ploughed through the middle of the town, which irreparably injured both Auburn and Placerville and even scarred Grass Valley a bit. The historic streets and buildings have thus largely been left intact. It is also in part due to the setting along a narrow valley with the core of the downtown in the bottom, straddling the creek, and the old residential areas extending up the slopes on either side while the courthouse, still one of the tallest buildings in town, commands a higher elevant than the rst of downtown.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful, lively, bustling historic town near other sites, touristy but also a real, working city
  • In a nutshell:A lively, attractive, historic Gold-Rush city
  • Last visit to Sonora: Apr 2009
  • Intro Updated Jun 17, 2009
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