History

History

Legend has it that Weaverville was part of the inspiration for James Hilton’s Lost Horizon, Weaverville being the example of the mythical Shangri-La.   On the National Register of Historic Places, Weaverville’s Historic District has also recently been designated a Preserve America Community.

Unlike a number of other historic towns, Weaverville’s Historic District continues to thrive with business activity including coffeehouses, gift shops, clothing stores, antique stores and one of the oldest active County Court Houses in California.   A unique gold rush town Weaverville continues to celebrate all segments of its history.  Pioneers and settlers, Native Americans and Chinese.

Tour Historic Sites

The Weaverville Joss House, a California Historic State Park,  is still an active place of worship and is also available for visitor tours.

The Trinity County Historical Society has been an active part of the continuing education of visitors and locals regarding the history of Weaverville. The Trinity County Museum and their volunteer staff are also a wonderful resource for information, background and local legends.

Walk Through History

Self guided walking tours are available of both historic downtown and local cemeteries.   Remnants of the gold mining past in the form of mine tailings are easily viewable along the Weaver Basin Trail System.
Like many California communities, Weaverville and Trinity County have an active chapter of E. Clampus Vitus, the Clampers, is a fraternal organization dedicated to the study and preservation of Western Heritage, especially the history of gold mining regions.   Weaverville and Trinity County have a rich gold mining history

Fun Historic Facts:

Gold Is Where You Find It
starring Olivia De Havilland was filmed in and just outside of Weaverville.

Black Bart robbed the Weaverville stage (while it was in French Gulch).

The Chinese Tong War took place in Weaverville.

Weaverville was part of the inspiration for James Hilton’s Lost Horizon.

Famous concert promoter Bill Graham of Bill Graham Presents worked on the Trinity Dam project in the late 1950’s.

Tom Waits features the lyric “on the wreck of the Weaverville stage” in his song “Get Behind The Mule”.  Here’s a great version by John Hammond.

Wikipedia also has a good description of Weaverville and its history.

Weaverville, California’s Spiral Staircases

From The National Register of Historic Places

“Weaverville. WEAVERVILLE HISTORIC DISTRICT,
Both sides of Main St., Mid-late-19th C.

Small town district of about 25 commercial, residential, public, and religious buildings, many of brick, others frame, and several of tamped earth construction. Buildings along Main Street are 1-2 stories, often with false fronts or parapeted roofs, and many with verandas; several feature spiral iron stairs to 2nd-floor veranda; bandstand and 1874 Joss House, still used as place of worship, included.

Goldmining town settled after 1849; late-19th C. population of nearly 2,000 included a sizable Chinese community, 1854 Tong War, in which several hundred Chinese participated, took place near town.”