Sunday, April 28, 2013

Volcanic Gold Prospects!

Or, the tiny town of Volcano, California, an authentic gold rush town with more explanatory signs per capita than probably any other place on the planet - Gettysburg not excepted since there are lots of memorials but not so many explaining signs (well, more signs, maybe, but not per capita).

I figure a lot of you will get a kick out of this either because you are too far away for a visit or, if you are like me and interested in wild west gaming, be able to take inspiration from some of these buildings.

And up first is something not often modeled, a brewery, bavarian no less, dating from 1856 originally.

No, this photo is not of the brewery, this is the building across the street, currently a hotel and restaurant.  But it is flavorful, note the corrugated roof.
This is the brewery building and that's my mom and my wife in the picture.  This was an unplanned stop on the day, just meant to get my mom out of the house and out and about for the day, a scenic drive through the country.  By the time we got to Volcano we were ready for lunch.
 Have no explanation for the bell, maybe for fires, probably a ship's bell at one time?

For me this was pretty cool, inside that shed is an authentic civil war cannon and it's limber.  Hard to get better photos than below but still...

Something else to consider including in a wild west town, a bandstand.  Since this is up in the mountain's where there is a real possibility of heavy snow, that should explain the enclosed nature of the structure.

An old ore car from a mine, again, no explanation.
Click on the photos to make them larger and the signs easier to read (hopefully).  This sign shows the changing use of buildings, even in their early years.  Also shows that not all buildings were made of wood.  Of course, the Sierra Nevada's are a ready source for granite and other rocks.  Lots of rocks.

 Sorry for the orientation on these signs, just a pair that explain a bit about the locality.

 A different kind of cannon.  This was used to shoot water against a hill side and wash it down into the miner's giant sluice boxes to riffle out the gold.  Hydraulic mining transformed huge chunks of California's landscape.  Note the name of the mine.

 This next one should be fun for many of us!
 Do take careful note of the construction technique, not so flimsy as it looks, still sturdy 142 years on.
 Any one for a little Dan Brown type intrigue in their wild west games?  Justification right here.

 A side shot showing a couple of typical door and window treatments I've seen all over California's gold country relics.
 And talk about an unusual building to have in our modeled towns, how about an observatory?
 Just a bird, some sort of vulture type.
 Something for an out of town industry, a marble quarry.
 So, I'm reading this sign and when I look up for the described Christmas tree, I see...
 this little one.  Doubtful that is the original tree, but not impossible
 The robin wasn't going to tell me.  But it is a certain sign of spring in these parts.
 A detail shot of the railings on one of the buildings, note the simple straight posts.
 A general shot of one of the two streets we wandered around on.
 Another reason to build with other than wood.
 Some less well preserved elements of the town.  Note carefully the small print here.

 The kitchen basement of a saloon, now a little gift shop above, shot from the rear balcony.
 And this is just for fun, an inspired request to the public.  Which actor is that?
 How many of us remember to include the local butcher shop in our wild west towns?
 This is a facade into an open air amphitheater for the local stage troop.  But it is a very period authentic facade for the era.
 A shot back towards the phone booth above.
 And a different view of the facade.
 Something more modern in town.
 I hope that glare doesn't obscure the words, as many as one thousand cigars for $10.00!
 Who would think such a small town would have two theaters?  But it does!  This is for indoor performances.
 Just another detail shop of the top of the front of the building.
 Where we ended up eating, the local general store.
Our meat was cooked on what looked like a wood fired stove, don't know if it is original but it looked like it could have been.  Maybe converted to gas?  Some cool aritifacts inside.  And, yes, the food was quite good.
 Another business to consider including in town - one I already had on my list.  Is it on yours now?
 If your town is in gold country, this is an essential edifice to include.

 And last, an old iron stove, year unknown, from inside the general store.
Nothing here to set the world on fire but some cool ideas for additional buildings in our towns.

Oh, and before I go, I've got to share a bit about "The Gathering: Most Unique Picture Ever Taken, 1883."  In the photograph are the following true life character's from America's old west: Wyatt Earp, Teddy Roosevelt (younger), Doc Holiday, Morgan Earp, "Liver Eating" Johnson, Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, Bat Masterson, Harry Britton, Judge Roy Bean, and Ben Geenough.  Ascribed to being taken at Hunter's Hot Springs, Montana.  It is a cool photograph.  Now, before you go half cocked and ask me to post a copy remember two things, it's copyrighted for sure, and it's designed for taking in greenhorns (as in ignorant fools) or the gullible.  There isn't a shadow of a chance of it being authentic - which the shadows themselves reveal.  Someone came up with a pretty cool doctored image.  But it's fun to see all those folks in the same image.  And it is reminiscent of what we do when we adjust history to make our games more fun by bringing together characters who never met up in real life.  At least, we've been know to do such things around these parts.

Keep yer powder dry!

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