National Register of Historic Places in Tuolumne County

National Register #95000265: Watts & Tannahill Company Store 17 December 2006
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National Register #95000265
Watts & Tannahill Company Store
AKA Iron Door Saloon
18761 Main Street
Built 1852

The Iron Door Saloon, originally known as the Watts & Tannahill Company Store or the Granite Store, is one of the oldest buildings in Tuolumne County and one of the oldest Gold Rush buildings in the Mother Lode.

It has undergone few significant alterations during its lifetime. It displays splendid craftsmanship, with solidly constructed native slate stone walls in the basement and carefully fitted granite blocks on the front and rear walls with slate stone for the side walls.

The building has been at the center of Groveland's commercial life, serving first as a mercantile store from about 1850 until the late 1880s and then playing a prominent role in the town's social life, serving continuously from 1896 to the present as a saloon except during prohibition when it was a "soft drink establishment.'

Adapted from the NRHP nomination submitted in 1995.

A plaque on the exterior wall of the Iron Door Saloon reads:

Iron Door Saloon

This building is the oldest liquor-serving establishment in the State of California. It began life in 1852 as "The Granite Store" built by Peter King. It operated as a general mercantile with, of course, the obligatory "plank over flour barrels" serving liquor to thirsty miners.

In the 1860's postmaster Jim Tannahill bought the store which also functioned as the town's post office for almost 25 years. In 1896 Giacomo de Ferrari turned the building into a full fledged saloon. It became named "The Iron Door Saloon" in 1937. Since 1985, it has been owned by Peter and Bettike Barsotti.

Dedicated by Matuca Chapter 1849 E Clampus Vitus Aug. 14, 1999 6004

Credo quia absurdum

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:

Butte Store in Amador County
Calabozo in Hornitos
Civil War Armory in Georgetown
Compere Store in Murphys
Downieville Museum in Downieville

Fountain & Tallman Soda Works in Placerville
Gamble Building in Big Oak Flat
Hirshfeldter Building in Downieville
Honigsberger Store in Copperopolis
Italian Store in Douglas Flat

Kohler Store in Washington
Mackerman & Company Building in Downieville
Masonic Lodge in Columbia
Masonic Lodge in Hornitos
Nevada Brewery in Nevada City

Nevada Theatre in Nevada City
Odd Fellows Hall in Big Oak Flat
Old Segale Building in Murphys
Old Stone Garage in Truckee
Plymouth Trading Post in Plymouth

Pearson Soda Works in Placerville
Sam Choy Store in Angels Camp
Stage Stop in La Grange
Valente Building in Murphys
Watts & Tannahill Company Store in Groveland

Wells Fargo Bank and Stage Stop in Georgetown
Wells Fargo Express in Chinese Camp
Wells Fargo Express in French Corral
Wells Fargo & Company in North San Juan

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