Historic Sites and Points of Interest in Sierra County
This fireproof stone building was built by E. Hirshfeldter shortly after the Downieville fire of February 19, 1852. It is an excellent example of California Gold Rush architecture. From its inception, it was used as a hardware store utilizing a frame building behind to house a tin and iron works. Around the turn of the century, the building became a grocery store, as is its function today.
Dedicated August 29, 1981
Downie Chapter No. 1849
E Clampus Vitus
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: