Soulsbyville (No. 420 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 quartz mines of Soulsbyville produced more than $7 million by 1909. The community was the first in Tuolumne County to be established because a of a lode mine. Soulsbyville began in 1856 as one of many East Belt mines. Soulsbyville, named after Ben Soulsby, was unlike many other mining towns. The homes were well kept, the gardens were beautiful and the residents lived within the law.
Miners from Cornwall, England worked the hard rock mines. Other nearby mining towns included Black Oak, Live Oak, Golden Treasure, and Platt and Gibson. Today, Soulsbyville is a small, rural mountain community near the towns of Sonora and Tuolumne City.
The historical marker is one stop on the Mark Twain and Bret Harte Trail. The California Historical Marker is located at the northwest corner of Soulsbyville Road and Community Drive. This area is also part of the Mark Twain and Bret Harte Trail.
A treasure of natural wonders and lively gold rush history, Tuolumne County offers visitors vivid scenery. A portion of Yosemite National Park lies within the county, along with giant redwood groves and impressive geological features. Both Bret Harte and Mark Twain wrote stories set in this area during the Gold Rush.
Time Period Represented