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Sutter Creek Grammar School (No. 456 National Register of Historic Places)

Historic Site or District

National Register of Historic Places

In 1966, the National Register of Historic Places was established by the National Historic preservation Act. The National Register is the nation’s official list of buildings, districts, sites, structures, and objects important in American history, culture, architecture, engineering, or archaeology that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association.

To be placed on the National Register, properties must meet the specified criteria. Properties must meet at least one of the following criteria to be considered eligible for listing. The criteria for listing in the National Register that are:

1.) Associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or

2.) Associated with the lives of significant persons in our past; or

3.) Embody distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or

4.) Have yielded or may be likely to yield information important in history or prehistory.

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The Sutter Creek Grammar School in Sutter Creek is a testament to the importance of education to the early settlers of Sutter Creek. The large, two-story brick building served as a school from 1870 to 1956 and was built to replace the school that was destroyed by an arsonist in 1870. The community raised $10,000 to replace the original schoolhouse, which at the time served 200 to 300 children. Students from as far away as Latrobe and Plymouth attended the Sutter Creek Grammar School. The Sutter Creek Grammar School was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

The Sutter Creek Grammar School is unique in the Mother Lode. Most schools built at that time were small, simple wood structures. The Sutter Creek Grammar School is a large, two-story brick building with a wooden belfry above the entrance. The building has had minor alterations and additions since it was constructed, and exhibits excellent structural integrity. The building features both Classic Revival architecture features and East Coast design with a low-gabled roof, simple, unornamented features, and symmetrical design. The Sutter Creek Grammar School is one of two such schools in the Mother Lode. The only other school built in a similar fashion is in the town of Columbia.

In the late 1970s, the Sutter Creek Women's Club lead the effort to restore the building with support from the Amador County Historical Society and the Amador Parlor of the Native Daughters of the Golden West. Restoration efforts are again underway, and are being led by the Sutter Creek Community Benefit Foundation. The Sutter Creek Grammar School Facebook pageshows the efforts that community volunteers are putting in to restore the school. Nearly 150 years after the school's construction, the community of Sutter Creek is still dedicated to maintaining this historic educational building.

The Sutter Creek Grammar School is located at the Sutter Creek Elementary School Property between Broad and Cole Streets. The Sutter Creek Grammar School is not open to the public on school days, and Sundays are the best days to visit the historic building.

Amador County

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. Amador County was once a rich gold mining county, and many of the county’s towns began as gold mining camps. The largest Native American grinding stone with 1,185 mortar holes and dozens of petroglyphs is in Amador County at the Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park, which also houses the Chaw’se Regional Indian Museum. Amador County has a booming wine country with over 35 small wineries in the foothills.

Time Period Represented


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