BACKSTORY: Columbia was only one of hundreds of settlements that sprang up during the exciting years when the cry of "Gold! " brought Argonauts from all over the world to seek their fortunes in California. Located in the heart of the Mother Lode, a mile wide network of gold bearing quartz that extends 120 miles along the western edge of the Sierra Nevada, from Mariposa northward to Georgetown, Columbia yielded $87 million in gold at 1860's prices. The town continued to survive, but not prosper for many years. The most notable event of these years was the arrival of the noted tour guide, Fuzzy Hughes, in 1912. During the 1920's ideas began to arise concerning the inclusion of Columbia into the new and growing California State Park System. In 1928, Frederick Olmstead spoke favorably about the inclusion of Columbia in his famous survey of possible park sites. A very serious but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to make Columbia a State Park occurred in 1934. By this time the town was quite run down. Many of the structures had become public nuisances and were falling down. In 1945 the effort was finally successful. The Legislature passed a bill appropriating $50,000 to be matched by public subscription for the acquisition of lands and buildings in the old business section of Columbia. Thus, Columbia State Historic Park was born.
Columbia State Historic Park has been used a shooting location for many films and television scenes. High Noon includes scenes filmed in 1952 in and around the Wilson House, on Main Street and in front of Engine House #2.
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