Downieville, California

  Craycroft Building, built in 1852 to replace the original building which was a log cabin saloon that was destroyed in Downieville's first large fire. The new saloon featured California's longest bar, made from a single sawed board of over 70 feet long. It was at the original saloon that Juanita went to seek shelter from a lynch mob.

  Downieville dates back to 1849 and is located on two branches of the North Fork of the Yuba River. In 1850 Downieville sported 15 hotels, 4 bakeries, 4 butcher shops, and numerous saloons. By 1851 the population was reported to be around 5000!

Downieville is the also the site of the first hanging of a woman, the story has been told many ways, here is one condensed version;

  The 4th of July in 1851 was celebrated in Downieville with a lot of drinking as usual for a mining camp. A drunken miner by the name of Fredrick Cannon showed up at the door of a young Mexican girl by the name of Juanita, harassing her and calling her a prostitute, he was chased away. The next day on July 5th 1851, he showed up again, this time perhaps to apologize and Juanita fatally stabbed him. She ran and hid out in Craycroft's Saloon for protection from a mob that had formed.

  The lynch mob that had formed held a mock trial and she was hung on the Jersey bridge. It is said that before she was hung, she said out loud "Adios Senores".

  Juanita's death was witnessed by a William Ballou who wrote;

"I arrived in Downieville one day, July 5, 1851. I had just got to the edge of the town when looking down the grade I saw something on the bridge looking like a piece of calico. When we came down we found it was a Spanish woman that had killed a man. The mob took her out and hung her. It was the first woman I ever saw hung, and it was the most degrading site I had ever saw."

  Unfortunately, Juanita's grave cannot be found today, the cemetery was moved a few times by the miners who were working the site of the original cemetery for gold.

  Today Downieville has become the mountain biking mecca of the High Sierria's with many great trails to ride. Every year Downieville gets over run with mountain bikers and the famous Downieville Downhill race is held.

Let's explore Downieville

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