National Register of Historic Places in Nevada County
In 1882, George Gehrig, employing Italian stonemasons and Chinese laborers, built this brewery from locally quarried granite blocks. The workers also dug a storage cave for aging casks of ale. The cave was once connected to a network of tunnels that ran beneath Nevada City, but these tunnels were filled when the formerly quiet Route 49 was expanded into the freeway which now bisects Nevada City.
When we photographed the building in 2005, it was open to the public as a restaurant.
Gold Rush Stonemasons
Mining camps started as clusters of tents and other makeshift shelters. If the mine was productive, wooden buildings were erected and a town was born.
Conflagrations were a recurring curse. Often entire town were repeatedly destroyed by fire. Stonemasons, especially Italian immigrants from Liguria, began building "fire proof" banks and stores of stone or brick with iron doors and iron window shutters to protect the contents from fire.
Many of these stone buildings survive. Some of them, such as the Butte Store, are the sole reminders of a lost mining town.
Some of these buildings are: