About the County

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Amador County: Today

Amador County is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. As of 2010, the population was 38,091. The county seat is Jackson.  (Amador County Road Atlas)

Amador County bills itself as "The Heart of the Mother Lode" and lies within the Gold Country. There is a substantial wine-growing industry in the county.

Amador County is located approximately 45 miles (72 km) southeast of Sacramento in a part of California known as the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 605 square miles (1,566 km²), of which, 593 square miles (1,536 km²) of it is land and 12 square miles (30 km²) of it (1.94%) is water. Water bodies in the county include Lake Amador, Lake Camanche, Pardee Reservoir, Bear River Reservoir, Silver Lake, Sutter Creek, Cosumnes River, Mokelumne River, and Jackson Creek.

Amador County ranges in elevation from approximately 250 feet (76 m) in the western portion of the county to over 9,000 feet (2,700 m) in the eastern portion of the county. The county is bordered on the north by the Cosumnes River and on the south by the Mokelumne River.

Amador County: From The Beginning

Amador Hotel Ratto Theater River Pines Resort
The Amador Hotel, Amador
City, c.1895
Ratto Theater, Main Street
Jackson, c.1930's
River Pines Resort,
Cosumnes River,
c.1920-1930

As early as 1843, John Sutter dispatched men - some with families - to stands of cedar and sugar pine on the ridge between today's Amador and Sutter Creeks. He called the place "Pine Woods." Sutter's men worked there sawing wood, producing charcoal, and manufacturing other items needed at Sutter's Fort. Even for a time after the gold discovery, Sutter's men still worked at Pine Woods.

Before statehood, what is now Amador was part of the San Juaquin District and in 1849 had at least three precincts - Drytown, Volcano, and Buena Vista Ranch - in the statewide elections of 1849. When California became a state in 1850, Calaveras was one of the original 27 counties organized. But citizens northerly of the Mokelumne River were quickly dissatisfied with being a stepchild province. After several years agitation, the county was finally divided in 1854 and on June 14th, Amador was born.

In later years it acquired land north of Dry Creek from El Dorado County and gave up its easterly Sierra territory when Alpine County was formed in 1863. Jackson, which had been the county seat of Calaveras for a time in 1851-1852, edged out Volcano to become county seat of the new county. Volcano threatened to wrest the honor away in 1857, but the effort was stymied in the legislature at the eleventh hour. Jackson may be the only city which has been the county seat of two counties.

Amador County is the only county in the state named after a native Californian - Jose Maria Amador, a wealthy ranchero before the gold rush, whose great ranch covered much of what is now Amador Valley near Danville. He and his employees mined along a creek in this county in 1848 and 1849. That creek became known as Amadore's Creek, and soon after, camps called Amadore Crossing and South Amadore or Amadore City were founded.

Miners in the latter camp in 1852 first petitioned that a proposed new county be called "Amador" In 1854, when legislation dividing Calaveras was debated, a motion to name the new county Amador instead of Washington was adopted.

Amador County Today:
adapted from Wikipedia under a Creative Commons License
Amador County From The Beginning:
Facts provided by: Larry Cenotto, Amador County Archivist
Photos Courtesy of the Amador County Archives