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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Trip to Downieville

Darling Main Street
Our oldest had to work today (at 6 am!!) so we put off doing something as a family until she got off.  Given that meant leaving at lunch time, we had a fairly limited radius in which to plot a mini adventure.  So, we looked at a map and made a decision.

Given that my daughter was just in a musical about a a California Gold Rush town, Downieville, we thought that was a splendid choice!

Downieville, once home to over 5,000 residents, now has less than 300, but is a stunning and well preserved historical hamlet nestled deep in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  It's also the setting for one of California's more tragic moments of history:  The "Trial of Juanita."

In the mid-1800's, a young Spanish girl, Josefa, had her home broken into and was assaulted.  In self defense, she stabbed and killed her assailant, a white man.  Without a proper trial or remotely fair legal process, amidst heavy racial tension, she was tried and convicted of murder. 

She remains the only PREGNANT woman in California history to be executed.

Utterly tragic.

But if you can get past that black mark, it's actually an interesting and beautiful little town set in a small alpine valley at the confluence of the Downie and Yuba rivers.  A stunning place to dip your toes in the river and enjoy a picnic.  (or peruse the antique shops or various museums and restaurants!)

We're really glad we went!

So Pretty!

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