Jackson Gate (No. 118 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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The name Jackson Gate comes from a deep and narrow opening where the water of the North Fork of Jackson Creek flows through what resembles a rocky cut gate. Jackson Gate, located about a mile north of the city of Jackson, was another rich area for mining. The creek’s north fork is reported to be the first mining ditch in Amador County. By 1850, 500 miners rushed to the scene to begin digging. Water was thought to have sold for $1 an inch.
An Italian immigrant family, the Chichizolas, arrived in America in July of 1830. They made their home in Boston where they had friends. Eventually, two Chichizola brothers made their way to San Francisco in 1848 by sailing around Cape Horn. They traveled to Sacramento and from there to Lancha Plana, a few miles south of Ione in Amador County. Lancha Plana is where the brothers began their mining adventures.
By the end of 1849, unsuccessful at mining, the brothers moved to Jackson Gate to open a store. The brothers collected customer orders by riding on horseback. They rode back to customer’s home and businesses to deliver the orders. The brothers later opened a store that they managed until 1858. Other family members arrived and the family expanded the business by opening stores in other Amador County locations, in addition to purchasing a cattle ranch.
The brothers married and raised their families in Amador County. The family kept the original store in Jackson Gate open until 1977 – closing the business after 127 years of operation. Larger stores moved nearby and the small stores could not compete, so the store closed. The Chichizola store is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Victorian Mansion that was the family home is now The Gate House Inn, a popular bed and breakfast inn.
The historical landmark is located on Main Street, 1.3 miles northeast of Jackson.
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 known today as the Kirkwood Inn.The relatively narrow county is aligned between the Mokelumne and Cosumnes rivers and roughly follows an important emigrant trail route. Gold rush camps and boomtowns abound in the history of the area. Amador County is also recognized for its dozens of vineyards and wineries.
Time Period Represented