#2 Walk Across California’s First Suspension Bridge

Bidwell Bar Suspension Bridge

In 1856, a suspension bridge was swung across the Feather River at Bidwell Bar, site of the county’s first gold mining community. It’s towers, manufactured in New York and brought around the Horn, the bridge was the first of it’s type in California and was closed to traffic in 1954.

Prior to the construction of Oroville Dam, the bridge was dismantled and relocated in Bidwell Canyon. The first Saturday of every May, the Bidwell Bar Day celebration is held here featuring demonstrations of pioneer crafts, gold panning, food and entertainment. The Toll House Museum there is open on Saturdays during the summer.

South End of Lake Oroville in Bidwell Canyon off Kelly Ridge Road 530-538-2219

#6 Catch the 49er Spirit

Built by the Native Sons & Daughters of the Golden West and operated by the City of Oroville, this museum was built in 1932 as a replica of a 49er cabin. The original building has been enlarged to now hold 6,000 sq. ft. of historic treasures. Antique pianos, the original Oregon City School organ, a grand old clock from Bidwell Bar, an extensive hat collection (including an 1849 bonnet worn by a wagontrainer), beautifully elaborate women’s fans, antique dolls (including a doll from the Donner Party), a miner’s vest tailored to hold different size nuggets, and a handmade gold needle are just part of the holdings of the first room.

The Indian artifact display contains one of the largest arrowhead and basket collections in the area, and the Chinese exhibit features a rare tear jar.

One area is devoted to the life of Florence Danforth Boyle, the museum’s founder and Butte County Recorder in 1918. It will give you the 49er spirit!

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To hear a narrative on this historic attraction, dial 530-539-3004 and press 107.

Pioneer Museum
2332 Montgomery Street
(530) 538-2497
Open: Fri-Sat-Sun. Noon-4p.m.
Closed: Dec. 15-Jan. 31
Admission: $2 Adults ($1.50/each for groups with 15 or more), children under 12 free

#7 Relive a Love Story

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C.F. Lott Home in Sank Park

A Victorian revival style structure, the C.F. Lott Home built in 1856 serves as a cultural repository for decorative art objects which are typical of the homes of Oroville’s pioneer families. The collection includes antique furnishings, paintings, rugs, textiles, clothes, silver, and glassware of the period 1849-1910. The tour retells a love story, including the surprise built into the fireplace.

The garden contains a profusion of flowers, including an outstanding hybrid rose area, and the park contains a lovely gazebo as well as many trees that show autumn color. Don’t miss the carriage house with Jess and Cornelia’s 1922 Buick. Portions of the property may be reserved for weddings and other private functions.

101To hear a narrative on this historic attraction, dial 530-539-3004 and press 101.

1067 Montgomery Street
(530) 538-2497 or (530) 538-2415
Home Hours: Sun-Mon & Fri. 11:30-3:30
Closed: Dec. 15-Jan. 31
Admission: Adults $3, Children under 12 free
Park Hours: Mon-Sat 9-9, Sun 9-8:30

#8 Know Another Culture

Oroville Chinese Temple & Garden

Built in 1863 to serve a community of 10,000 Chinese, this temple of treasures is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and also as a California Landmark. It was first opened to visitors during California’s 1949 Centennial.

It includes three chapels, with the main chapel, Liet Sheng Kong, serving as a place of worship for Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism.

In 1968, Tapestry Hall was added to display the extensive collection of embroidered tapestries, parade parasols, and other objects of beauty. A priceless collection of Chinese and American costumes is arranged to contrast the two cultures by decades from 1850 to 1930. Also see the rare threedimensional puppets from the Oroville Chinese Opera Theatre.

102Visitors won’t want to miss the garden, which is designed as a place for meditation and reflection and has plantings that originated in China; each is a symbol for a Taoist idea. The temple and garden are maintained by the Oroville Parks Department. To hear a narrative on this historic attraction, dial 530-539-3004 and press 102.

Oroville Chinese Temple & Garden
1500 Broderick St., 530-538-2496
www.cityoforoville.org
Hours: Daily, Noon-4
Closed December 15-January 31
Admission: Adults $3, Children under 12 free, Tour groups and special rates

#9 Songs Dances & More

Historic State Theatre of Oroville

Dedicated in 1928, this theater has featured great vaudeville acts, fine films, and multiple live music, dance, and drama performances. The theater was designed by Timothy L. Pflueger and J.R. Miller, who also created the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Building in San Francisco.

The State was restored to much of its original grandeur in the late 1980s with additional restoration projects being completed every few years. The theatre now has an outstanding lineup each season of national touring companies as well as local groups presenting music, dance, comedy, and drama.

To hear a narrative on this historic attraction, dial 530-539-3004 and press 106.

Historic State Theatre of Oroville
At Myers & Robinson
Tickets: (530) 538-2415
Box Office Information Recording: (530) 538-2470
See more

#10 See the House that Olives Built

Ehmann Home

Freda Ehmann, “Mother of the Ripe Olive Industry,” and her son, Edwin, built this Colonial Revival Craftsman home in 1911 after she’d perfected a curing process for ripe olives and had markets across the nation. Edwin served as mayor here from 1919-23.

Open for tours by appointment and on Saturdays from 11-3, the home features lovely wainscoting, hardwood floors, fireplaces, intricate stained glass windows, and antique furniture including a Chickering piano that came around the Horn. The home is available for weddings & other events.

BCHS Museum houses Ishi’s jailcell door, early gold scales, photographs, an amazingly detailed dollhouse, an Erle Stanley Gardner exhibit and many videos. BCHS hosts annual “Ishi Days” each May.

Research assistance and sale of books, Diggin’s (BCHS’ quarterly publication), and Ehmann olives are offered at the Archives.

Gifts are offered in all three venues, Main and 5th Streets.

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To hear a narrative on this historic attraction, dial 530-539-3004 and press 105.

Ehmann Home
Lincoln at Robinson,
(530) 877-7436, (530) 533-5316
Open for tours Saturdays, 11-3

Butte County Historical Society Museum
1749 Spencer Ave.
(530) 533-9418,
Open: Fri. 9-12, Sat. 11-3

Butte County Historical Society Archives
2335 Baldwin Ave.
(530) 533-9418,
Open: Thurs.-Fri., 9-Noon

#17 Gifted With Gardens

Three of Oroville’s gardens are featured in Garden Getaways-Northern California (1989, Tioga Publishing Co.), which is quite a compliment for the city. “Closed off to the world outside its gates, the garden is a mystery from outside but a place of shelter and tranquility within,” is how the author describes the Chinese Temple Garden after listing dawn redwood, ginkgo, wisteria, bamboo, waterlilies, and other specimens to be enjoyed here.

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After discussing species in Sank Park, “…a rose garden…a trellised gazebo, and wide lawns with beautiful specimen trees… the garden today is ideal for strolling, sitting, and for more formal gatherings,” the author wrote.

One of the historic garden spots in Oroville is the former California Display Garden at Western Pacific Brewing & Dining. The garden was originally used to “greet and introduce” rail travelers to the huge variety of California fruit trees. After traveling through the snow in the Sierras, we bet they were impressed.to see avocados, palms, a fig, olive, persimmon, and pineapple guava. Little remains of the garden now, but you can use your imagination and understand the thrill that rail travelers once experienced.

And you just haven’t seen Spring until you view the 165 varieties of azaleas in April bloom at Minasian’s.

Chinese Temple Garden
1500 Broderick St.

Lott Garden in Sank Park
1067 Montgomery St.

Minasian Azalea Gardens
1681 Bird St.

Western Pacific’s Calif. Display Garden
2191 High at Oliver

#24 Admire the Murals

Oroville’s downtown has turned into a mural mecca with over 15 murals, and you can also find one at the Lake Oroville Visitor’s Center.

The murals high-light Oroville’s heritage going from the Gold Rush era through World War II.

These murals have been created thanks to the Downtown Business Association. If you have ideas or donations for future murals, please contact Mike Isch at Northwestern Trading, 1910 Bird St., Oroville, CA.

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#27 The Last Yahi

Ishi – The Last Yahi

In 1911, an Indian about 50 years of age wandered into the outskirts of Oroville. An anthropologist from the University of California at Berkeley came here and took the man, whom he named Ishi, back to the university and was amazed to learn that Ishi spoke a language thought to have been extinct. Ishi worked at the school both as a janitor and as a teacher of his culture until his death in 1916.

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The monument was designed and built by the McInturf family of Oroville and is constructed of fieldstone rocks gathered from the Deer Creek Canyon area where Ishi lived before his family died, and he found his way to Oroville. The Rotary Club has recently added picnic tables and landscaping to the area surrounding the monument, making it a pleasant spot to contemplate our land of many cultures.

Books about Ishi include Ishi, The Story of an American Indian by Kathleen Allan Meyer and Ishi in Two Worlds by Theodora Kroeber. In 1992, “The Last of His Tribe” starring Graham Greene as Ishi was filmed in the area. The movie was aired on HBO and is now in video stores.

California Historic Landmark
“The Last Yahi Indian”
Oro-Quincy Hwy. & Oak Street
Ishi Mural
Downtown on Robinson St. between Lincoln & Huntoon
Film & additional information availale at The Lake Oroville Visitor’s Center
(530) 538-2219

#29 Former Steamers

Locomotive buffs will enjoy these two old steam engines. Railroads were an important part of Oroville’s history since the lumber industry played a dominant role in the local economy and depended heavily on the railroads.

The Shay engine located on the Park Avenue side originally belonged to the Hutchinson Lumber Co., purchased to operate on its private 20-mile logging railroad in the foothills east of here.

Both engines represent an important part of Oroville history.

Hewitt Park Steam Engines
Between Baldwin & Park Ave.,
access on Daryl Porter