Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Past is Present in Coloma #1: Bell Store

Just a few old photos this morning of an old brick building in Coloma, California. It is known as "Robert Bell's Store".

I have always been fascinated by this old shell of a building. Can't you just imagine the lady in her sunbonnet carrying a basket of her purchases, perhaps some bright blue calico for a new dress, a bit of chambray to make a work shirt for the husband, and maybe some penny candies to treat the children when she gets home? This old Frasher's Real Photo Postcard above states "Remains of Robert Bell's Store, built about 1856". In this great old photo you can see out the back of the store into the woods beside the South Fork of the American River. Trees of Heaven grow rampant inside where there once were barrels of pickles, crocks of liquor, bins of nails and grain, perhaps a nice warm fire in a pot-bellied woodstove, and people gathered to wonder at the weather and watch the rising of the river during a big storm.

Bell's brick store sold general merchandise, feed and grain, and also served many years as the U. S. Post Office.

According to one old postcard, banners, signs and merchandise were displayed under the shake-covered porch that covered the fancy brick sidewalk.
In 1856 Coloma was swept by fire which destroyed most of the wooden buildings. The Bell store was one of the first buildings rebuilt after the fire.

Today, as you drive down Highway 49 into the State Park, the building still stands on your right just past the old schoolhouse. Take a drive and check it out one of these days.


moonshinejunkyard said...

oh tina, i have seen it a million times and felt the same mysterious wonderings! i love this building and feel so lucky to live in this ghostly part of california where so much history dwells.

farmlady said...

This is such a lovely place.... and, of course, where gold was discovered.
We went through a couple of years ago and I was reminded how beautiful this area was.
The Trees of Heaven have such a wonderful name but it's an invasive tree that has become the scourge of the foothills. What a shame.
Love that old store. Love the history of the area. Thanks for the reminder.

Heidi Ann said...

I always find your Gold Country past and present posts so interesting!
Thank you for writing them.

yosemite faith said...

how interesting, as always. so many of that style of bldgs in the gold country. you always make me want to know more tina.