Amador County

 

 

 

 

Overview

Amador County is a county located in the Sierra Nevada of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 38,091. The county seat is Jackson.

Amador County bills itself as “The Heart of the Mother Lode” and lies within the Gold Country. There is a substantial winemaking industry in the county.

Amador County is blessed with four distinct seasons, and unique scenery to go along with them. Elevations range from 200 feet in the west, to more than 9,000 feet in the east, giving travelers picturesque views of smooth valleys, rolling hills and towering mountaintops as they make their way along the county’s two major highways: Historic Highway 49, stretching from north to south, and scenic State Highway 88, a perfect and leisurely alternative gateway to upper Amador County and the Lake Tahoe region.

Shenandoah Valley

Though not as well-known as the Napa Valley AVA or Sonoma Valley AVA viticultural regions of California, the Shenandoah Valley was once the principal viticultural region of California.With the discovery of gold, the area quickly became a mecca for those trying to make their fortune. In the process numerous wineries sprouted up many of whose vineyards are still in use by wineries today. The decline of the California Gold Rush coupled with the onset of Prohibition devastated the wine-making region of Amador County.

Today this area has been resurrected and is now home to over 40 different wineries. Amador County is renowned for its Zinfandel, but many other varietals are produced as well. Amador County has a high percentage of old Zinfandel vines. Some of the Zinfandel vineyards in this county are more than 125 years old, including the original Grandpère vineyard, planted with Zinfandel before 1869 and believed to be the oldest Zinfandel vineyard in America. This 10-acre vineyard is home to some of the oldest Zinfandel vines on Earth, with proof of existence dating to 1869 when it was listed as a descriptor on a deed from the U.S. Geological Survey. A grant deed in Amador County records further proves its existence in 1869. These old vines produce intense flavors allowing winemakers to make outstanding Zinfandels.

Demographics

The 2010 United States Census reported that Amador County had a population of 38,091. The racial makeup of Amador County was 33,149 (87.0%) White, 962 (2.5%) African American, 678 (1.8%) Native American, 419 (1.1%) Asian, 77 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 1,450 (3.8%) from other races, and 1,356 (3.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4,756 persons (12.5%).

History

Indians

Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park east of Jackson commemorates the Northern Sierra Miwok who lived in the area from ancient times. They were a hunting and gathering people who lived along water sources where prehistoric artifacts might be found. Ceremonial and social life revolved around the roundhouse, one of the largest in the area, and utilized feather regalia, ceremonial dress and musical instruments. They reportedly believed that Mount Diablo was inhabited by spirits that came to the Miwok country and brought kuksu dance ceremonies that included impersonators of the spirits and people and allowed women to participate. They are described as being quiet but suspicious and paranoid, often plotting mean-spirited things and dancing over scalps of enemies.

An estimated 22,000 Miwok were in the region when the Spanish explorers arrived. As miners invaded the area disputes and confrontations occurred over hunting and gathering areas which required military intervention. A series of treaties ceded lands to the U.S. with some land reserved as permanent residence for the Natives, but these treaties were never ratified or kept, leaving the Miwok homeless. They relocated and merged with other tribes and worked on ranches. In 1915 an attempt was made to provide 40 acres near Ione for the 101 homeless Indians living there, but the sale fell through and the Indians stayed put. In 1971 the 40 acres were allocated to 12 individual Miwoks but not to the Tribe. In 1972 the Bureau of Indian Affairs promised they would give federal recognition if the Indians could get clear title to the land, which did not happen. In 1978 the BIA suggested using the Federal Acknowledgment Project to gain recognition, but that required years of research. In 1985 Amador County started taxing the 12 individuals named in the 1972 judgment. Finally in 1994, federal recognition was reaffirmed back to 1915 but the tribe remains without land to this day. http://ionemiwok.org/?page_id=43

The Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwok operates their casino in Jackson with considerable community support developed over many years of trials and tribulations. Now they are giving back to their communities by restoring and overhauling dilapidated parks and recreational space. The Rancheria is the largest employer in the County. http://www.jacksoncasino.com/tribal/historyhttp://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/article/jackson-rancheria-band-of-miwuk-indians-invests-in-repairing-parks-of-amador-county,-california-138502

Spanish

In their search for people to convert the Spanish missionaries and military came into the Amador County area and captured Indians to take back to Santa Clara. Whether the Natives were captured by Spanish, Mexicans or whites, they typically ended up being slaves and abused if they did not meet expectations.

The county was named after Jose Maria Amador, a wealthy native Californian and owner of Rancho San Ramon, who mined gold in the area with his Indians. The county, a creek and some other landmarks were named for him. However, there’s a historical event that occurred earlier that involved a “Jose Maria Amador” who came to the foothill region looking for his stolen cattle. The word “amador” means “one who loves”, which seems starkly contradictory in light of the following information, if indeed it is the same person.

1837 In California Jose Maria Amador led a “recapturing expedition.” They found and murdered 200 Indians.(SFC, 12/31/00, BR p.12) http://timelines.ws/countries/AMERIND_B.HTML
It is believed that this occurred somewhere in Calaveras County near the Tuolumne County line, perhaps along the Stanislaus or Calaveras River.

A further description is provided here, reportedly from Amador’s own remembrance:

We marched with our prisoners to the mountains in a pouring rain…. [Later] the Ensign [Prado Mesa] and I returned to the camp. We separated 100 Christians. At every half mile or mile we put six of them on their knees to say their prayers, making them understand that they were about to die. Each one was shot with four arrows, two in front and two in the back. Those who refused to die immediately were killed with spears. The Ensign did not want to carry out this execution because he had no desire for it, but I told him that if my own father stood before me I would kill him. On the road were killed in this manner the 100 Christians.

We arrived at the camp where the 100 heathen were confined. There, before dark in the pouring rain, I suggested to the Ensign that he take under his immediate charge the crowd of prisoners, because during the night there might well occur incidents between the auxiliaries and our people. …The ensign told me to do whatever I thought best. I answered that I thought all the prisoners should be shot, having previously made Christians of them. They should be told they were going to die and they should be asked if they wanted to be made Christians. I ordered Nazario Galindo to take a bottle of water and I took another. He began at one part of the crowd of captives and I at another. We baptized all the Indians and afterwards they were shot in the back. http://www.mchsmuseum.com/decim.html

Betty Goerke, author of Chief Marin, writes of one Jose Maria Amador who was appointed as an administrator at the San Jose mission who then later had a rancho in San Ramon. She goes on to tell about how Indians stole 60 head of livestock from Amador’s rancho and a month later Amador and his companions found the Indians, took them prisoner, forcibly baptized them and then shot them in the back. (Heyday Books, 2007, pp. 161, 165)

Another source tells us that 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. http://www.co.amador.ca.us/index.aspx?page=40

It appears that the person for whom the county is named is the same as the one who shot the Indians in the back, which raises some big questions about the namesake of Amador County and what roots he represents. http://books.google.com/books?id=ewfAudJ_PX8C&pg=PA414&dq=pedro+amador+carpio&hl=en&sa=X&ei=_WjqT8yXM8Ks2gW43tHcAQ&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=pedro%20amador%20carpio&f=false

County

The residents of Amador County initially were part of the San Joaquin District. For election purposes in 1849 they had three districts – Drytown, Volcano and Buena Vista Ranch. When California became a state in 1850, what became Amador County was part of Calaveras, one of the original 27. The residents north of the Mokelumne River were dissatisfied with this arrangement so Calaveras was divided in 1854 and Amador became its own entity. Jackson had been the county seat for Calaveras but it became the county seat for Amador. Eventually Amador acquired part of El Dorado County and it gave up the eastern Sierra portion to Alpine. http://www.co.amador.ca.us/index.aspx?page=40

In terms of gold mining, the Kennedy, Argonaut and the Keystone, all produced well, but the Keystone was the most productive at about $24 million worth from 1853-1942.

Towns

Ione
Ione, called by many names including Bed Bug, Freeze Out, Hardscrabble, Woosterville, Jone City, and Rickeyville, provided supplies to the mines on the main road to the Mother Lode. Preston School of Industry to serve juveniles, Community Methodist Church of Ione and D. Stewart Company Store are historical places of interest. Ione had a Chinatown had about 100 Chinese and 4 churches. The centennial celebrated the completion of the railroad.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ione,_California | http://ione-ca.com/home/ione/history.htm Ione is home to the Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park and the largest town in Amador County. The unincorporated town of Dagon was 1.5 miles west-southwest on the Southern Pacific Railroad. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dagon,_California

Preston Castle
Built in 1890-1894, Preston is the most significant example of Romanesque Revival architecture in the Mother Lode. It was established by the State Legislature as a School of Industry to provide progressive action toward rehabilitating, rather than simply imprisoning, juvenile offenders. Doors of the 120-room ‘Castle’ closed in 1960 after new facilities were completed. It is now owned by a foundation and is used for a variety of purposes including being a haunted house for Halloween. http://www.prestoncastle.com/


Jackson
In 1853, Jackson became the county seat of newly formed Amador County, California. Previously, from 1851–1852, it had been the county seat of Calaveras County. Jackson may therefore be the only city to have ever been county seat of two different counties at different times. Jackson was founded by Colonel Alden Jackson around a year-round spring, water being a necessity for both people and cattle. The choice of Jackson as the County Seat was a bitter battle with the voters in Moquelumne Hill wanting to lynch the judge who made the decision over a disputed election count. That same judge later shot a man over another disputed election count. Jackson, too, was an important supply center along the road from Sacramento to the Southern Mines. The town was destroyed by fire in 1862 but rebuilt and most of those buildings still stand. Placer mining gave way to hard rock mining. The Kennedy Mine at Jackson was one of the deepest in the world. When fire trapped 47 miners in the Argonaut Mine in 1922, rescue was attempted from the Kennedy Mine but failed, making this the state’s worst mining disaster. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kennedy_Mine | http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argonaut_Mine

Congregation B’nai Israel dedicated the first synagogue in the Mother Lode in Jackson on September 18, 1857, which was Rosh Hashanah, where High Holy Day worship continued until 1869 then the larger Masonic Hall was used to accommodate the congregation. After that the old wooden structure served as a schoolhouse until it was relocated and became a private dwelling. It was demolished in 1948. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackson,_California

Jackson is the birthplace of the Order of the Native Daughters of the Golden West whose icons and emblems have included the bear Ursula and Minerva. The Oriflamme banner is from France, its color symbolizing the blood of St. Denis, who was beheaded around A.D. 250, and who is said to have walked and preached for six miles while carrying his head in his hands. The Oriflamme represents no clemency or mercy. http://www.ndgw.org/FoundingHistory.htm | http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denis Sheaves of Wheat represent Demeter, goddess of crops, giver of food and harvest, and are associated with The Grange, an agricultural fraternal organization or the “Farmer’s Masonry”, and the mystic letters P.D.F.A. http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/masonicmuseum/fraternalism/grange.htm | http://www.historichwy49.com/jack/jackhist.html  Could the mystic letters possibly refer to Pomona, Demeter, Flora and Athena?

Saint Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Jackson is the Mother Church of the denomination in North America. It is named for Saint Sava, one of the most important people in Serbian history, a monk, the first Archbishop of the Serbs and the author of the oldest known constitution of Serbia securing both religious and political independence. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church of the United States came from Alaska to Jackson in 1894 to consecrate the land on which the church was built. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Sava

Sutter Creek
Named after John Sutter and considered the “Jewel of the Mother Lode,” Sutter Creek was a destination for gold hunters who found great deposits of gold-bearing quartz in 1851. The Central Eureka mine, begun in 1869, was the best paying mine for many years, closing in 1951. Hetty Green, owner of the Old Eureka Mine was the richest woman in the world at one time. Now Sutter Creek is a tourist town. Leland Stanford was one of the wealthiest and most famous residents having received a stake in the Union Mine as payment of a debt.
The town itself is registered as California Historical Landmark #322. Many of the original brick buildings are still standing.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutter_Creek,_California http://www.historichwy49.com/sutter/suthist.html

Plymouth
Founded in 1871 and largely dependent on the prosperity of the mines, Plymouth also had many farms and orchards. In 1877 most of the town burned when some children played with matches. Today Plymouth hosts the Amador County Fair and is also known as the “gateway to the Shenandoah Valley’, home to 21 wineries and the Amador Flower Farm. http://www.historichwy49.com/amador/plymouth.html

Pine Grove and Mount Zion State Park
The Mount Zion Lookout Tower in Mount Zion State Park located near Pine Grove was threatened with closure by the state until 2003 but the local citizens managed to raise $50,000 to staff it for the 2003 season, known as “Fire Siege of 2003” in southern CA. Amador County didn’t have any large wild fires in 2003. http://www.amadorfire.com/fire-and-rescue/resources/mt-zion-lookout

Clinton
South of Pine Grove, Clinton’s votes were always counted last so it decided elections during the 1850s to 1880s.

Volcano
During the Civil War the gold mined here served the Union. Although named for its setting in a crater-like hollow and being one of the most picturesque towns in the Mother Lode, many thought its name pertained to the volatile and explosive tempers exhibited here. The observatory in Volcano is where the Great Comet of 1861 was discovered. The Volcano Theater Company still performs there in the Cobblestone Theater and the Volcano Amphitheater.

Although small, Volcano is a town of many “firsts”:

  • 1854 First theater group in California
  • 1854 First debating society in California
  • 1854 First circulating library in California
  • 1855 First private schools in California
  • 1855 First private law school in California
  • 1856 First legal hanging in Amador County
  • 1860 First astronomical observatory in California
  • 1978 First solar still in California http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcano,_California

Pre-charter meetings of the Masonic Lodge were held in this cave’s upper levels. The Masonic Caves are an eerie place once used for secret meetings by pre-charter Masons. The caves are located on different levels and vary in size and shape. Several openings lead into the caves which honeycomb the limestone hill, the one used by the Masons is a little bit larger than the others and is located higher on the hill. The caves were abandoned after five meetings when the Masons moved into their new meeting hall which they shared with the Odd Fellows, another fraternal organization http://www.amadorgold.net/tours/volcano/volcanopage2/volcanopage2.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_Order_of_Odd_Fellows
Fiddletown
Fiddletown had many miners who played the fiddle during inclement winter weather and it also had one of the largest Chinese communities in the state with over 2,000 in the 1860 census. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiddletown,_California
Drytown
Drytown, the oldest community in Amador and the first in which gold was discovered and named for Dry Creek, had 26 saloons. Before the tourist boom in the area, a summer theater company called the Claypipers, performed comedic melodramas with song and dance acts. Many of the performers and backstage hands were from the Bay Area. Named for the clay pipes through which the miners got water to the deep mining tunnels, the theatrical group did much to help the community until 1994 when their theater building closed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drytown,_California
CALIFORNIA NATIVE AMERICAN CEREMONIAL ROUNDHOUSES (THEMATIC), CHAW SE’ ROUNDHOUSE – In a village, the roundhouse served as the center of ceremonial and social life. Constructed in 1974, the Chaw se’ roundhouse continues this tradition. With its door facing the east, towards the rising sun, four large oaks are the focal point of this sixty-foot-in-diameter structure. Today ceremonial roundhouses are the most significant architectural manifestation of the continuing Mistook spiritual heritage. Location: Chaw Se Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park., 14881 Pine Grove/Volcano Rd, Pine Grove

KNIGHT FOUNDRY – Knight Foundry was established in 1873 to supply heavy equipment and repair facilities to the gold mines and timber industry of the Mother Lode. Samuel N. Knight developed a high speed, cast iron water wheel which was a forerunner of the Pelton Wheel design. Knight Wheels were used in some of the first hydroelectric plants in California, Utah, and Oregon. This site is the last water powered foundry and machine shop in California. A 42-inch Knight Wheel drives the main line shaft, with smaller water motors powering other machines. Location: 81 Eureka St, Sutter Creek
JACKSON GATE – Jackson Gate, on the north fork of Jackson Creek, takes its name from a fissure in a reef of rock that crosses the creek. In 1850 about 500 miners worked here and the first mining ditch in the county was dug here – its water sold for $1 per inch. Location: On N Main St, 1.3 mi NE of Jackson

MAIDEN’S GRAVE – It is said that in 1850 a young girl, Rachel Melton, native of Iowa, was accompanying her parents on a journey West via covered wagon train when she became violently ill. Camp was made and every effort was made to cure her, as she was the joy of the party, but she passed away and was buried on this spot. Location: On State Hwy 88 (P.M. 61.3), 10.5 mi W of Kirkwood
LANCHA PLANA – Lancha Plana (Flat Boat) was well settled by 1850 due to the hydraulic mining operations in the extensive gravel beds along the Mokelumne River. The Amador Dispatch newspaper was born here in 1856. Poverty Bar, Camp Opra, Copper Center, and Put’s Bar were ‘suburbs’ of the larger town. Location: North shore of Camanche Reservoir, 1 mi W of County Line Bridge on Lancha Plana Buena Vista Rd, 6.0 mi S of Buena Vista

PIONEER HALL – The Order of Native Daughters of the Golden West was organized on these premises, the site of the Pioneer Hall, on September 11, 1886. Location: 113 Main St, Jackson
IRISHTOWN – This was an important stopping place for emigrants on their way to the southern mines. The first white settlers on this spot found it a ‘city of wigwams,’ and hundreds of mortars in the rocks testify that this was a favorite Indian camping ground. Location: On State Hwy 88 (P.M. 20.8) at Pine Grove Wieland Rd, 2.2 mi SW of Pine Grove

BUTTE STORE – This is the only structure remaining of Butte City, prosperous mining town of the 1850s. As early as 1854 Xavier Benoist was conducting a store and bakery in this building. Later Ginocchio had a merchandise business here. Location: On State Hwy 49 (P.M. 1.4), 2.6 mi S of Jackson
KIRKWOOD’S – Resort, stage station, and post office were originally built by Zack Kirkwood in 1864. When Alpine County was formed from Amador County, the division left the barn and milkhouse in Alpine, while the Alpine-El Dorado line went directly through the barroom of the inn. Location: On State Hwy 88 (P.M. 71.8), Kirkwood
BIG BAR – The Mokelumne River was mined at this point in 1848. Established in 1849, the Whale Boat Ferry operated until the first bridge was built, about 1852. Location: On State Hwy 49 (P.M. 0.0) at county line, 4.0 mi S of Jackson

THE COMMUNITY METHODIST CHURCH OF IONE – The cornerstone was laid in 1862 and the church, constructed of locally fired brick, was completed in 1866. Dedicated as the Ione City Centenary Church and later popularly known as the Cathedral of the Mother Lode, this church was the first to serve the people in the area. Location: 150 W Marlette, Ione
OLD EMIGRANT ROAD – Here the Old Emigrant Road began a long loop around the Silver Lake basin, reaching an elevation of 9,640 feet at one place. This difficult portion of the road was used by thousands of vehicles from 1848 to 1863, when it was superseded by a route approximating the present highway. Location: On State Hwy 88 (P.M. 63.1) at Mud Lake Rd, 8. 7 mi W of Kirkwood

SITE OF FIRST AMATEUR ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORY OF RECORD IN CALIFORNIA – On the knoll behind this marker George Madeira built the first amateur astronomical observatory of record in California. It was there that he discovered the Great Comet of 1861 with a three-inch refractor telescope. Location: Volcano

ARGONAUT AND KENNEDY MINES – Argonaut Mine, discovered 1850, and Kennedy Mine, discovered 1856, played dramatic roles in the economic development of California, producing $105,268,760 in gold. Kennedy Mine has a vertical shaft of 5,912 feet, the deepest in the United States. The Argonaut was the scene of the Mother Lode’s most tragic mine disaster-on August 27, 1922, 48 miners were trapped in a fire at the 3,500-foot level – few survived. Both mines closed in 1942. Location: W roadside rest, State Hwy 49 (P.M. 5.6), 1.6 mi N of Jackson
http://ceres.ca.gov/geo_area/counties/Amador/landmarks.html

Places of Interest

Kirkwood Mountain Resort is a year-round resort in Kirkwood, California south of Lake Tahoe that focuses on skiing and snowboarding in winter and hiking and mountain-biking in summer. Kirkwood is one of the region’s larger resorts, and is well known for having one of the highest average snowfalls and a broad selection of advanced skiing terrain. The mountain is unique in that it has 2 mi ridgeline at the top. This makes Kirkwood popular for cliff drops and cornices. Kirkwood received 804 in of snow during the 2005-2006 ski season. Average seasonal snow fall is 472 in (1,200 cm) second only to Sugar Bowl Ski Resort in the Sierra Nevada.


Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park
is a state park unit of California, United States, preserving an outcropping of marbleized limestone with some 1,185 mortar holes—the largest collection of bedrock mortars in North America. It is located in the Sierra Nevada foothills, 8 miles east of Jackson. The park is nestled in a little valley 2,400 feet above sea level, with open meadows and large specimens of valley oak that once provided the Miwok peoples of this area with an ample supply of acorns. The 135-acre park was established in 1962and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

The native name for the site is “Chaw’se” which is the Miwok word for “grinding rock”. Upon this rock they ground acorns and other seeds into meal, slowly forming the cup-shaped depressions in the stone, which can still be seen today. Along with the mortar holes, the main grinding rock within the park also features a number of petroglyphs: circles, spoked wheels, animal and human tracks, wavy lines, etc. Some of these carvings are thought to be as much as two or three thousand years old and are now becoming difficult to discern in the rocks. This association of rock art and bedrock mortar pits is unique in California. Except for one other small site, Chaw’se has the only known occurrence of mortars intentionally decorated with petroglyphs.

Chaw’se Regional Indian Museum
This museum, within the park grounds, features a variety of exhibits and a vast collection of Sierra Nevada Indian artifacts. A Miwok village complete with a ceremonial roundhouse has been reconstructed in the middle of the small valley. The roundhouse is registered as California Historical Landmark #1001. The museum has been designed to reflect the architecture of the traditional roundhouse. Exhibited in this two-story museum are examples of the technology and crafts of the Miwok and other Sierra Nevada Native American groups. As a regional Indian museum, the collection at Chaw’se includes exhibits on various tribal groups, including: the Northern, Central and Southern Miwok, Maidu, Konkow, Monache, Nisenan, Tubatulabal, Washoe, and Foothill Yokuts.

Geography

Amador County is located approximately 45 miles southeast of Sacramento in the part of California known as the Mother Lode, or Gold Country in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 604.69 square miles, of which 592.97 square miles (or 98.06%) is land and 11.73 square miles (or 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 Tabeaud Lake.

Amador County ranges in elevation from approximately 250 feet in the western portion of the county to over 9,000 feet in the eastern portion of the county. The county is bordered on the north by the Cosumnes River and El Dorado County and on the south by the Mokelumne River and Calaveras County, on the west by Sacramento and San Joaquin Counties, and the east by Alpine County.

Pardee Dam is a 345-foot-high structure across the Mokelumne River which marks the boundary between Amador and Calaveras Counties, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada approximately about 30 miles (48 km) northeast of Stockton.

The impounded water forms Pardee Reservoir, the primary source of water for the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) in the San Francisco Bay Area. The reservoir normally covers 3 sq miles with a 215,000 acre·ft capacity. The water is transported from Pardee Reservoir across the Central Valley via three large steel pipe aqueducts to several storage reservoirs located in the hills east of San Francisco Bay which supply drinking water to the East Bay region. The water is also used to generate electric power and for recreation.

Both the dam and its reservoir are named for George Pardee, a prominent Progressive Era politician in the Bay Area who also served as Governor of California.

Politics
Amador is a strongly Republican county in Presidential and congressional elections. The last Democrat to win a majority in the county was Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Amador is part of California’s 3rd congressional district, which is held by Republican Dan Lungren. In the State Assembly, Amador is part of the 10th district, which is held by Democrat Alyson Huber. In the State Senate, Amador is part of the 1st district, which is held by Republican Ted Gaines.

Drugs
Amador County, as well surrounding counties, is known to have a meth problem. Many crimes are directly connected to meth addiction in the area. Scott Thomas Anderson wrote a book called Shadow People. Anderson spent 18 months embedded with police in the rural counties just outside of Sacramento looking for the connection between meth addiction and criminality. After logging hundreds of hours with law enforcement from Calaveras, Jackson, Ione, Amador, and El Dorado, among others, he says national media, such as Frontline and National Geographic, do not sufficiently draw the connection the between crime and addiction in meth-affected communities.

Meth is a gripping drug that affects the brain’s biochemistry. Users who become dependent on the drug have relapse rates as high as 92 percent, Anderson’s book reports. Addicts suffer from paranoia, self-mutilation, sleeplessness, tooth erosion, delusions of meth mites crawling over the skin, and seeing what is described as “shadow people.” Though generally cheap, the meth market is highly volatile. One addict told Anderson that he could maintain his meth addiction on $7 a day. “I think that’s the real battlefront. It’s the young people,” Anderson said. “Amador, Calaveras and El Dorado counties—they are on their third generation of meth addicts now.”

Here is an article revealing an issue also with marijuana also in the county.
Arrests Made in Connection with Illegal Marijuana Cultivation
Five men have been arrested in connection with illegal marijuana grow sites in Amador County.  According to reports from the Amador County Combined Narcotics Enforcement Team (ACCNET), in May of this year, they received information of suspicious activity in the area of Ellis Road, and that a Salvador Valencia may be associated with commercial outdoor marijuana cultivation on public lands.  Surveillance of Valencia, temporarily living in Lodi, led to discovery of two commercial marijuana cultivation sites off Salt Springs Road and Ellis Road in Amador County, as well as one on private property in Delhi and a warrant was issued for his arrest.  Recently, Valencia and four other men were detained in a traffic stop while traveling on Ridge Road in Martell.  All five were arrested on multiple drug-related charges.  Valencia’s residence in Lodi was then searched, revealing processed marijuana, evidence of outdoor marijuana cultivation and sales, and almost $415,000.  The search indicated that the suspects were also receiving various forms of government assistance, despite the large amount of currency located.  Additional evidence revealed cash transfers of several thousand dollars to banks in Mexico over the past 24 months.  Last week, the US Drug Enforcement Administration took over the investigation for federal proceedings. http://www.kvgcradio.com/local-daily-headlines/478-arrests-made-in-illegal-marijuana-cultivation-in-amador-county

This is a tremendous prayer need for the county. We need to pray that the pipeline of delivery of meth coming up from Mexico is cut off and the marijuana field s are found and destroyed. We need to pray for hope for the young people so they will choose to never touch drugs. We need to pray that the spirit of addiction is broken off this county and the captives set free.
http://www.scottthomasanderson.com/index.html
http://www.mtdemocrat.com/news/author-says-community-help-needed-to-combat-meth/

Resources

http://www.amadorcounty.com/banks.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine_Grove,_Amador_County,_California
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amador_County,_California
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Grinding_Rock_State_Historic_Park
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackson,_California
http://amadorwine.com/new/pages/home.cgi
http://amadorcountyfair.com/
http://amadorcountyhistoricalsociety.org/
http://www.touramador.com/act/
http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/06005.html
http://amadorcountychamber.com/site/pages/visiting.cgi
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirkwood,_California
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirkwood_Mountain_Resort
http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/meth-addiction-eats-at-sacramento/content?oid=5577746
http://www.scottthomasanderson.com/index.html
http://www.mtdemocrat.com/news/author-says-community-help-needed-to-combat-meth/
http://www.kvgcradio.com/local-daily-headlines/478-arrests-made-in-illegal-marijuana-cultivation-in-amador-county