Downieville Museum in Downieville

Extensive exhibit of artifacts, historical books, documents and many old photos covering all of Sierra County. Admission is free.

Location: 330 Main St., Downieville.

Hours: Normally open seven days a week during the summer (weekdays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., weekends 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Contact: Email Lee Adams, phone (530) 289-3506, or write to Downieville Museum, P.O. Box 1, Downieville, CA 95936.



Forest City Ghost Town in Forest City

The tiny town of Forest City is it’s own museum. Most buildings date from the 1800s. To arrange a tour of the museum, call 530-287-3413. Also, pick up a walking tour map at the mail box in front of the Forest City Dance Hall.



Foundry Museum in Downieville

The barn-like building housing the museum is the original structure where pig iron shipped in from San Francisco was worked into mining components and tools. The building now houses a very detailed miniature model of 19th century Downieville plus numerous artifacts. There are no genealogical records there. For that, you should go to the Downieville Museum. As of July 2009, the museum is closed and its future is uncertain. For more information, contact the Downieville Museum.

Location: On the south side of Pearl St., Downieville.



Frank C. Reilly Museum in La Porte

Contains numerous artifacts from the La Porte area, plus historical photos, documents and books. They do have some genealogical information. Admission is free.

Location: In the center of La Porte (181 Main St.). It is the wooden building with the ore crushing machine in front. Main entrance is on the second floor.

Hours: Call.

Contact: Mike Fitzgerald, Director.Phone is (530) 742-6387. Mailing address is P.O. Box 189, La Porte, CA 95981.



Kentucky Mine Museum in Sierra City

Includes mining artifacts, stamp mill, way-of-life exhibits (Chinese, native americans, miners logging, skiing, pioneers), photographs, historical documents, and useful books. Be sure to go on the guided tour of the mine and stamp mill. Admission is free to members.

Location:Address is 100 Kentucky Mine Rd, Sierra City. From Sierra City, head west on Hwy 49. Shortly after leaving Sierra City there is a small road on the left marked by a Kentucky Mine sign. Drive up the road. Parking is on the right and the museum is the first floor of the large two-story building to the left.

Hours: Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Tours at 11 a.m. or 2 p.m.

Contact: Virginia Lutes (Curator), phone (530) 862-1310. Mailing address is P.O. Box 260, Sierra City, CA 96125.




Milton Gottardi Museum in Loyalton

Contains numerous artifacts mostly from the Sierra Valley area (eastern part of Sierra County), plus historical photos, documents and books. They do have some genealogical information. Admission is free.

Location: 105 Beckwith Rd, Loyalton, CA 96118. The museum is located at the northwest corner of town. When entering Loyalton from the west, turn left on a major street and you will shortly encounter Beckwith Rd.

Hours: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., Thursday through Monday.

Contact: Elda Fae Ball (Director), phone 530-993-6754 or 530-993-4373. Mailing address: P.O. Box 654, Loyalton, CA 96118.



Mountain Messenger (newspaper office) in Downieville

This office of Mountain Messenger newspaper makes available for public viewing back issues of the paper from the early 1900s (a few issues are missing). Some back issues are also at the County Recorder's Office (Courthouse in Downieville). For a complete set on microfilm, go to the California State Library in Sacramento. The newspaper is still published each week and you can subscribe by mail.

Location:313 Main St., Downieville (go up the stairs to the second floor, office on the right).

Hours: Call.

Contact: Email, phone (530) 289-3262.Mailing address: P.O. Drawer A, Downieville, CA 95936.



Underground Gold Miners Museum in Alleghany

Exhibits highlight Alleghany area mining history including the Sixteen to One Mine. Includes historical artifacts, photographs, documents and books. You can become a member of their museum (annual dues required) which gives you a newsletter and a 10% discount in their gift shop.

Location:356 Main St., Alleghany, CA 95910. Located next to the local Post Office.

Hours: Open by appointment or for special events.

Contact: Phone (530) 287-3330. Mailing address is P.O. Box 907, Alleghany, CA 95910.


Most genealogical information is not posted on the Internet. You will find it in libraries, museums, government offices and in the archives belonging to historical societies. Listed below of are local historical societies, libraries and museums.

Historical Societies

Forest City Historical Association

Dedicated to preserving the unique qualities of the Forest City historical site.

Contact: Email, phone (50) 287-3133. Mailing address is 202 Main St., Forest City, CA 95910.



Sierra County Historical Society

Manages the Kentucky Mine Historic Park and Museum. Publishes the quarterly journal The Sierran Newsletter. To receive it, you must join the society. For contact information, see the Kentucky Mine Museum entry (listed below).


Sierra Heritage Historical Society

Primary purpose is a project to catalog the remaining historical buildings and other artifacts in Sierra County.

Email: Cy Rollins


Please contact the Sierra County Coordinator if you have any questions, problems, corrections or new information regarding this website or its posted material. CAGenWeb Disclaimer.

COPYRIGHT © 1996-2015 by Richard L Hanson (Sierra County Coordinator) on behalf of the California chapter of The USGenWeb Project. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Site Updated: 26 June 2016



Sierra County Public Libraries

While their focus is not genealogy and history, these libraries may have some some books of interest.

Alleghany Station Library – 123 Main St., Alleghany 95910; (530) 287-3287

Loyalton Station Library 511 Main St., Loyalton 96118; (530) 993-1105

Sierra City Station Library – Hwy. 49, Sierra City 96125; (530) 862-0210


Downieville Branch Library

While the primary focus is not genealogy and history, they may have some some books of interest. Address is 318 Commercial Street, Downieville 95936. Phone: (530) 289-3544. During 2011, the library was open on Monday and Thursday.