National Register of Historic Places in Stanislaus County
The Saunders' Store is a good example of a stone building type utilized during the 1850s in California gold mining communities. Its prominent iron doors are also representative. The classic rendering of the left unit is moreover an interesting translation of the popular Greek Revival style.
The Saunders' Store appears to have been constructed in two phases. This is most emphatically indicated by the vertical seam delineated by the cracking stucco on the facade.
Erected primarily from rubblestone, the rectangular units differ from one and another in the portion of stone to sand mortar used in wall construction, in the application of cut stone facings to the facades, in decorative detail and in iron door type. The unit on the left appears to be more carefully designed and constructed as well as somewhat older.
Excerpted from the NRHP nomination dated 28 February 1979.
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: