Activities: Historic Sites & Tours2018-11-06T21:32:05+00:00

Sutter Creek – Historic Sites & Tours

Knight Foundry
Sutter Creek’s Historic, Industrial Crown Jewel. The Knight Foundry, set in the heart of Sutter Creek, California, is America’s last water-powered foundry and machine shop. Established in 1873 by Samuel Knight, this extraordinary facility includes the unique historic equipment and machinery, still in place in its original context, just as it was during its Gold Rush-era heyday.

Knight Foundry is nationally recognized as a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark and a California Registered Historical Landmark. The Foundry is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was named by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of America’s eleven most endangered historic places.

2nd Saturday Self-Guided Tours at Sutter Creek’s Historic Knight Foundry
Knight Foundry in Sutter Creek is America’s last water-powered foundry and machine shop and a premier relic of Mother Lode gold mining history. Join us for a Self-Guided Tour on the second Saturday of every month. No reservations needed.

Hours: Tickets are sold 10am – 3pm. The Foundry closes at 4pm.
Fee: Tours are $10 for adults 18 and older, $5 for students age 5-17, free for children under 5.

Private Tours can be scheduled: 10.00 per person, minimum 100.00
Contact Ron Edgar 209-560-6160

More info:


Gold Mine Trail Sutter Creek
All Amador mines including the Central Eureka Mine were closed in 1942. The Central Eureka reopened in 1947 and continued strong until its August, 1958 closure. The City of Sutter Creek received the 17-acre site as a gift from private owners, and walking trails will be established around the preserved headframe and stamp mill. The brochure has a map and descriptions of each Amador County Gold Mine.

» Download the map and brochure here.

Historical Walking Map of Sutter Creek
Sutter Creek is Amador County’s most walkable town. Come and explore on foot!

Historic Kennedy Gold Mine Surface Tours
Take a fascinating tour of one of the most famous mines of the Mother Lode, the historic Kennedy Gold Mine!

Historic Sutter Creek Cemetery Tour
You are welcome to visit this and other pioneer burial grounds for historical study, genealogical research or a peaceful walk.

Preston Castle
One of the oldest and best-known reform schools in the United States. It is located in Ione, California, in Amador County.  Tours of Preston Castle are available from 10 am – 1 pm on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Monteverde Store Museum
The Monteverde Store Museum, which opened as a country store in 1896, still displays all the paraphernalia of the past on its shelves. Dry goods, hardware, bulk products, apparel, patterns, even penny candy were on hand for local shoppers. It is preserved as it was in 1971 when the last owner closed the doors for a few days and never reopened. It can be viewed by appointment with the senior docent.

Call (209) 267-0493 or (209) 267-1344 to make arrangements.

Located in the heart of the California Gold Country and right on the 49’er Gold Rush Trail is an excellent example of a perfectly preserved General Store from the mid 1800’s. The picturesque Monteverde Store is a wonderful historical location and gives you a perfect glimpse into how things were in the wild west. This particular building, with all its history and significance to the people of Sutter Creek and their ancestors, is definitely a must see while in the Sierra Nevada Foothills.Monteverde Store Museum

Don’t forget to visit the small office next door and see the history of Sutter Creek hand painted on the walls, by local artist Rand Hugget. This amazing mural, that covers the entire room, will walk you through the progression of how Sutter Creek came to be.

The Monteverde Store was opened by John Monteverde and his son John, as a country store in 1896 and still displays all paraphernalia of the past on its shelves. Dry goods, hardware, bulk products, apparel, patterns, even penny candy were on hand for local shoppers. Well preserved, it is now a museum.

Over its counters and from the shed (now the home of the Sutter Creek Visitors Center Office), the Monteverde family sold all manner and description of merchandise. Their emporium also served as a meeting place for the housewives of the period. The existing old ledgers, written in spidery script, attest to the good and bad times that befell the citizens of Sutter Creek.

The store was pretty much as you see it today. Dry goods on the west wall and hardware in the back behind the original cast iron pot belly stove. Groceries were on the east wall and the elevated office was in the rear. Each sale was entered into the day book, totals made at the end of the month, and John bill handed to the customer.

Over the years, the Monteverde store changed little from its early days. Brown paper bags and rolls of wrapping paper are still in place. An intricately carved and highly polished oak icebox is built into one wall, flanked by shelves stocked with clothing, books of wallpaper samples, cartons of hosiery and sewing goods. Across the room are the shelves of food. Some containers are still full and we don’t exactly know what is in the mason jars.

About the Monteverde Family:

John Monteverde, Sr. was a native of Genoa, Italy who came to America in 1860. After arriving in San Francisco, he decided to cast his lot in the Mother Lode country and came to Sutter Creek in 1861. He became an American citizen on August 25, 1872.

He worked in the gold mines for many years and later became a stone mason. Mr. Monteverde built many of the stone and cement walks around homes and on Main Street in Sutter Creek. John (unknown – 1918) and Rosa (1851-1943) had seven children: four boys: John (1873-1959) , James (Unknown – 1920), Joseph and Louis (1882-1961), and three girls: Mary (1879- 1972), Kathryn “Kate” (1885-1956), and Rose (1889-1978). The children were born and grew up in Sutter Creek. They graduated from Sutter Creek Grammer School, which is a National Historical landmark. There were no high schools in Amador County at that time.

After their father died on August 19, 1918, and due to her mother’s failing health, operating the store fell to Mary. Meanwhile, Rose worked as a bookkeeper and secretary for the Central Eureka Mine until it closed in 1954.

After the Eureka mine closed, Rose began helping Mary run the family business. The sisters closed the store on October 27,1971. They put a hand-written sign in the window that stated “This store will be closed for a few days.” This sign remained in the store window for over twenty years. After Mary’s death on August 23, 1972, Rose was very despondent and alone. She lived until April 11, 1978. The city kept the store closed for many years before reopening it in 1992 as a museum.

You can still see the original antique items still on the shelves. Preserved forever. Call in advance for a volunteer docent-led exploration of the store and the history of the Monteverde Family.

Seasons Open: All Year

Hours Open: Call for guaranteed tour. Sometimes open weekends. The Museum is open only through the generosity of volunteers.

Fees: None

sutter creek miners bend park


The Sutter Creek Community Benefit Foundation transformed one of Sutter Creek’s parking lots into an amazing historical display of Gold Mining history. Artifacts from the Argonaut Mine and the Sutter Gold Mine have been donated to show visitors and residents the rich Sutter Creek Gold Mining history. Along with the mining artifacts, the new passive park has informative plaques for the artifacts, picnic benches, trees, and “Chinese” rock walls lining the park, which are historic for the area.

More info:

sutter creek historic schoolhouse


The schoolhouse is rich in Gold Rush history. The original Sutter Creek School, built in 1856, burned to the ground in 1870. The building you see today, a thirty-five by fifty-five foot, two-story brick schoolhouse was built in 1870 by a community funded project of $10,000. Some 200 to 300 children from as far away as Plymouth and Latrobe attended the school each year. In 1896 the school district raised $5,000 in bonds to add the wings in the rear of the building. The school remained open until the early 1960s. The schoolhouse is now on lease to the City of Sutter Creek. It is now in need of renovation, and when completed, it will house a community museum, Sutter Creek archives, and will be available to the public for meetings, events, and other activities.

More info:


“Although John Sutter’s sawmill was about forty miles away, Sutter Creek is in the heart of the California Gold Country. Sutter made camp here, trying to avoid the gold rush crowds, but miners soon spilled in and made the town. Mining boomed and then faded…making way for today’s contagion: wine fever. In and around Sutter Creek you can mosey along sidewalks shaded by filigreed balconies.”  – New York Times 36 Hours

Yesterday & Today

The town derives it’s name Sutter Creek after John Sutter. Sutter as early as 1844, had in pursuit of timber, established whipsawing pits and an outdoor manufacturing business named Pine Woods. It was this area near the creek, which runs behind City Hall, that became the site of new and permanent settlement. It is told the settlement started because of a single tent raised there for miners to use on rainy Sundays when they could not get to Jackson or Drytown. Sutter Creek truly established itself permanently when Gold quartz was discovered in 1851 and the became a major supply center.

Among other notable historic landmarks like Knight Foundry and the nearby Kennedy Mine, visitors should take some time to enjoy the historic wine country surrounding Sutter Creek. Wine production in the area dates back one hundred fifty years, when pioneers seeking their fortunes in gold found the ideal climate for growing wine grapes. Today Amador County boasts over 25 wineries and is famous for its red Zinfandels.