Historic downtown Placerville has survived the test of time as older downtowns all around the country have become ghost towns from urban sprawl and mall style development. Main St. used to be a congested section of old highway 50 until a freeway was built to sneak around the downtown area in the 1960’s.
Places of interest are centered around the historic bell tower that served as a call to action for volunteer firemen years ago. Old town is ripe with historic buildings, antique shops, and restaurants.
The oldest surviving building is at 524 Main St. (Fountain-Tallman building) now a small museum operated by El Dorado Co. Historical Society volunteers. It originally was a soda water factory in 1852 and survived the many fires because it was built of stone and brick.
At 542 Main St. the El Dorado Co. Chamber of Commerce occupies the Veteran’s Memorial Building, and offers many free brochures, and information, for things to do around Placerville.
594 Main is the Pearson Soda Works, built in 1859. Now the Cosmic Café coffee house, it has an interesting mine shaft that you can tour that was used to store ice harvested from high elevation lakes back before the advent of refrigeration.
Nearby at the intersection of Main and Cedar Ravine St. is a monument to the Druids. Druids were a popular fraternal organization of the 19th century and Placerville was the site of the first Druid Grove in California. Cedar Ravine Creek gave up over one million dollars of gold during the gold rush. If you walk up Cedar Ravine St. you can admire the Combellack-Blair House one of several stately Victorian buildings near downtown.