Community Methodist Church (No. 506 California Historical Landmark)
California Historical Landmarks Program
Historical Landmarks are sites, buildings, features, or events that are of statewide significance and have anthropological, cultural, military, political, architectural, economic, scientific or technical, religious, experimental, or other value. Historical Landmarks are eligible for registration if they meet at least one of the following criteria:
1) Is the first, last, only, or most significant of its type in the state or within a large geographic region
2) Is associated with an individual or group having a profound influence on the history of California
3) Is a prototype of, or an outstanding example of, a period, style, architectural movement or construction or is one of the more notable works or the best surviving work in a region of a pioneer architect, designer or master builder.
California’s Landmark Program began in the late 1800s with the formation of the Landmarks Club and the California Historical Landmarks League. In 1931, the program became official when legislation charged the Department of Natural Resources—and later the California State Chamber of Commerce—with registering and marking buildings of historical interest or landmarks. The Chamber of Commerce then created a committee of prestigious historians, including DeWitt Hutchings and Lawrence Hill, to evaluate potential landmark sites.
In 1948, Governor Earl Warren created the California Historical Landmarks Advisory Committee to increase the integrity and credibility of the program. Finally, this committee was changed to the California Historical Resources Commission in 1974. Information about registered landmarks numbered 770 onward is kept in the California Register of Historical Resources authoritative guide. Landmarks numbered 669 and below were registered prior to establishing specific standards, and may be added to the California Register when criteria for evaluating the properties are adopted.
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Although the character of the town was formally dictated by the church, Ione was a city of diverse interests, people and professions.Thomas Rickey played a prominent role in the development of Ione. He owned most of the town and designed the layout in 1852.
At the church’s prompting, all businesses would shutdown on Sunday to “lead a better condition of morals.” The committee to build the church decided in 1861 to build a brick church for $8,000. The cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1862, using 255,000 locally fired bricks. The high roof and open rafters used no bolts to hold the structure together. The church was originally dedicated the “Ione City Centenary Church” and later Cathedral of the Mother Lode.
The city of Ione was first called a variety of other names. “Bed Bug,” “Dead Bug,” and “Freeze Out,” were all unpopular names, so during a town meeting, one resident proposed Ione, the name of one of the heroines in the book he was currently reading, “Last Days of Pompeii,” written by Edward Bulwer Lytton. The city of Ione was not officially incorporated until 1953. Early visitors remarked at the beautiful scenery: “a valley with massive oaks, luxurious grass and acres of poppies” writes James McCauley.
Miners arrived in 1848. Ione continued to flourish aside from the gold because of its agricultural riches – selling vegetables and grains. The town became an agricultural hub, supply center, and a stage and rail stop. In addition to the lure of gold, Ione featured 50 business enterprises. The fare for a Sacramento-Jackson six-horse carriage was $10 round-trip. Eggs sold for $1 apiece. A broom factory, cigar factory, watchmaker, jeweler, coal and copper mines, dressmaker, flour mills, Chinese laundry, millinery, photographer, assorted restaurants and art galleries were among the mix of proprietors.
Ione was also the headquarters for the Gold Country’s most notorious thieves, such as Black Bart and Joaquin Marietta. Many stage coach robberies took place in Ione. Bull and bear fights, prize fights, and more were also very popular. It was reported that one man was fined $25 in court for smoking opium.
The arts and entertainment also held a place in Ione’s diverse cultural fabric. Edwin Booth (the assassin of President Lincoln) and other theatrical players toured Ione and other Gold Country towns. Ione was home of the “Ione Big Four Minstrels,” the “Ione Cursing Club” and the “Ione Social and Literary Society” and several other social clubs. The Ione Silver Cornet Band made appearances around Amador County.
The historical landmark is located at 150 W Marlett in Ione.
Amador County was one of the most productive of the “Mother Lode” counties. The mine shafts were reported to be among the deepest in the world. Mining continues in select areas today. The eastern slope of Amador County begins at Kirkwood’s historic stage stop. The relatively narrow county is aligned between the Mokelumne and Cosumnes rivers and roughly follows an important emigrant trail route. Gold rush camps and boom-towns abound in the history of the area. Amador County is also recognized for its dozens of vineyards and wineries.
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