California Cities


Amador City, California's Smallest Hometown

There's something so relaxing about getting away from the big cities and escaping to a charming gold rush town. History isn't thrown away and destroyed in Amador but is cherished and shown off to all who visit. If you can survive the lack of big box stores, chain restaurant dining and all the modern trappings of "civilized" life, you may even think about sticking around like so many escapees from the San Francisco and L.A."zoos" do.

Amador is one of many Gold Rush towns that has managed to preserve much of its history seen in old buildings and the stories that go with them. Just minutes from the Shenandoah Valley wine country along historic Highway 49, this tiny town comprised of 0.3 square miles is a blip on the map. It is actually may be the smallest incorporated place in California.

Located between two other Gold Rush towns, Sutter Creek and Plymouth, Amador City still has many of it original mining-era buildings serving as shops, restaurants and a place to stay. Imperial Hotel, Saloon & Restaurant dates back to 1878, built not long after Amador was founded in 1853.

Visitors can get up to speed on Amador's history with a stop at The Whitney Museum, filled with Gold Rush era relics and docents who share the once booming town's history when thousands came to claim gold in them thar' hills.

While life is simple, you can fill it with your favorite activities if they involve the outdoors. Fishing, bicycling, gold panning, golfing, camping and just walking offer so much to explore.

 Travelers and residents can thank the likes of Jose Marie Amador for their gold discoveries that swelled the town to around 6,000 residents at one time, establishing gold mines -- Little Amador Mine, Spring Hill Mine and the Keystone mine (1853). When all was told, the mines brought in more than $28 million in gold.

Check out the Amador City website walking tour ( where 24 points of interest are available to see first-hand.

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