Sonora is the hard-working hub of the Mother Lode. A choice collection of Victorian homes and businesses still lends a Gold Camp flavor to this thriving Sierra foothills town. Gold was discovered here in 1849. The nearby Bonanza Mine was perhaps the richest pocket mine in the Mother Lode. After a disastrous fire in 1852, the town was rebuilt more substantially with stone, brick, adobe and iron.
Today, the rich heritage is showcased in a very real Old West downtown, where workers and travelers still gather for uncomplicated American fare; and logging trucks rumble down the main drag as they have for more than a century. Many Victorian buildings still serve their original purposes as saloons, stores or churches including a picturesque redwood-framed Episcopal church built in 1859 which may be California’s oldest. All around, a remarkable assortment of reservoirs and rivers in the oak-and-grass-covered foothills and pine-forested mountains provides a bonanza of recreation opportunities.