NAME: Sawmill Flat
COUNTY: Tuolumne
GRID #(see map): 3
CLIMATE: Warm winter, warm summer
COMMENTS: Southeast of Columbia and Northeast of Sonora. Semi-ghost.
REMAINS: Many original buildings.
One of the few early towns along the Mother Lode not a result of the gold rush. As its name suggests, Sawmill Flats was born from the need for lumber. Not many whites were willing to work at the mills, preferring to cast their lot panning for gold. Most of the workers were Mexicans and Peruvians. A population of a thousand or more grew up around the mills when gold was discovered only a short distance away. Those who left to stake claims were sadly disappointed when they discovered claims had already been filed by a Mexican woman who lived in the vacinity. In 1857, a fire nearly leveled the nearby town of Columbia, the mills best customer. As fires consumed other towns over a period of time and were rebuilt with brick and stone. the demise of Sawmill Flats was only a matter of time. Very little is left today to mark the site of the former lumber town. Submitted by Henry Chenowith.