The Oldest In The West

Placerville, California – Home to three of oldest existing businesses west of the Mississippi.

Placerville is a modest town, yet it’s home to three of the oldest businesses West of the Mississippi.


Because the Mountain Democrat was first published on July 12, 1851 – does that make all the news in that paper old news? Apparently not. Things happened then, that still happen now. Except, today, news featured in the section called, Prospecting, no longer causes a frenzy.

Placerville Hardware – June 19, 1852, is definitely worth a visit – even if you don’t need a thing. How comforting it is knowing there are two stores still on this planet that truly have everything – Placerville Hardware, and Avenue Hardware, naturally.

Of course, I needed a few things for the bike, and the kindly gent behind the counter was happy to find them for me. One item was rubber material to prevent the spare fuel tank bracket from shafing through the chrome on my new luggage rack. He went way above board and punched holes in the rubber to run the bolts through. Not only did he take the time to punch the holes  – he made sure they were the perfect sized holes. And they had a perfect sized square of rubber material in a box on the shelf – What a place!

Randolph Jewelers was founded in July 1852. Had no reason to go in, regrettably, because it’s my guess they may have had a few stories about gold and the role it played in the region.



Shade-TreeA meander down Hwy 49 was next on the list – the highway was named after the year of the Gold Rush. I got my first taste of winding country roads here. The bike handled great. I stopped once to sketch a few cows sitting under a tree beside the road – of course they got up and moved to another tree before I could get set up. It was a great day for riding, anyway.


Back in town – I learned that Merle Haggard died. This guy playing his guitar (click on image) was mourning one of his heroes. He pay much attention to me…he just kept playing Merle Haggard songs.

Great antique stores run up and down Main street. Placerville is worth a visit just for that!