CARPENTERS of COLUMBIA.

(AKA: Carpenter & Joiner, Builders, Contractors, Woodworkers.)

1850 - present


© Webmaster collection.
Carpenter tools of the 1850s.

There was a large supply of trees available to build the first dwellings for the earlier miners. Right away men with carpenter skills were doing the work for better wages than working the gold fields.

1850 Daniel Alexander is a known carpenter in Columbia. (from Eastman papers)


Carpenters from the July 1850 Census.

Jas. (James) Callahan age 45 of New York.(P4-L24)

F. Escobar age 29 of Mexico.(P6-L8)

J. Ida Tuor age 33 of Mexico.(P10-L36)

G. Gonzalez age 22 of Mexico.(P11-L21)

S. Covey age 25 of Arkansas.(P25-L2)


1851 Fall - Isaac Shotwell, Henry Drew, Patrick Hayes, and Garret Murphy were the first to build a number of wood framed houses before they had people to buy them.


© Columbia State Historic Park.
Columbia Trees - c1852.


1852 There were many pine trees of ancient heritage when the area was first occupied by miners or businesses and with little effort those trees slowly disappeared from the hills surrounding Columbia.

1852 Other carpenters known in town were; Charles Bassette, Preble & Alden (later Preble & Randolph), H. S. Drew, Able True. (from Eastman papers)


© Columbia State Historic Park.
Columbia Trees - c1853.


1853 More carpenters arrive in town; B. Northrup, S. E. Marshall. (from Eastman papers)

1854 July 10 - The buildings were lost in the fire and the lot sold to Thomas Magilton and Robert J. Starbird who built their residence and carpenter shop on the lot. (Eastman - May 1964)

1855 Rufus John Starbird, born June 23, 1827 in Lisbon, Maine, has a carpentry shop on the north portion of Lot 9, Block 16, which is the northeast corner of Broadway and Fulton St. (Neasham's Report, Pioneer File)


© Columbia State Historic Park.
Columbia Trees - c1855.


1856 Twenty-seven carpenters are listed in the Miners & Business Men's Directory.

1856 R. J. Starbird runs an ad in the Miners & Business Men's Directory.


© Webmaster's collection.
R. J. Starbird ad - 1856.


1856 Northup & Marshall run an ad in the Miners & Business Men's Directory Located on Washington Street in a fire proof house.

© Webmaster collection.
Scene of a Lumber Yard. - 1850s.


1856 Isaac Shotwell, advertises in the Miner's & Businessman's Directory, as available for carpentering from his Main Street provisions store.

1856 Smith, Morse & Co. lumber merchants are in the Gazette Building mortgaged to them by Cardinell. Their ad in the Miners & Business Men's Directory state that they are "a yard, foot off Broadway."

1856 Stout & Walls, Contractors & Builders, of Columbia, advertise in the Miner's & Businessman's Directory, that they will work anywhere.

1856 Whiting & Van Vecten, advertise in the Miner's & Businessman's Directory, a Lumber Yard on the corner of Main and California Streets.

© Webmaster collection.
A Typical Carpenter & Joiner shop - 1850s.



Carpenters or Cabinet Makers from the July 1860 Census.

Josiah Robins age 28 "Jorneyman Cabinetmaker" from Maine worth $500. (Page 45-Line 7)

T. Oestriches age 36 "Jorneyman Carpenter" from (can't read) worth $1000. (P47-L21)

R. J. Starbird age 30 "Master Carpenter" from Maine worth $1650. (P50-L20)

Thomas Mgilton age 40 "Jorneyman Carpenter" from Mass. (P50-L22)

Charles Bunney age 27 "Jorneyman Carpenter" from Maine. (P51-L24)

J. M. Sawyer age 38 "Master Cabinetmaker" from Maine worth $1100. (P54-L27)

Luther Fuller age 34 "Jorneyman Carpenter" from Massachusetts. (P54-L31)


1860 Starbird and David S. Turner had located a new shop at Waldo and Main Streets. (Eastman - May 1964)

1861 R. J. Starbird and Turner did woodwork and iron-work and sold wood. (By 1879 Starbird had a blacksmith & carriage-building shop in Sonora).

1861 Starbird & Turner, carpenters, were paid $281.97 to include the completion of the remainder of the Primary furniture, as well as cupboards, bookcases, a desk or table for the upper floor teacher, and such other items as were needed. (Notes on the school Trustees' Reports of 1861-1862)

1861 July 27 - Another fire occured. Starbird still occupied the premises at the time of the fire, he sold the vacant lot to Herman Wolf. (Eastman - May 1964)


© from the collection of Diane Harrington.
Rufus John Starbird - c1870s.


1862 R. J. Starbird advertised his place of business as on the north end of Main Street, toward Matelot Gulch in Columbia.

1862? R. J. Starbird closes his carpentry shop in Columbia. (Neasham's Report, Pioneer File). "As for Starbird closing his carpenter shop in 1862, it may be too early. - Diane Harrington research.

1864 R. J. Starbird married Abbie Slack.

1865 R. J. Starbird ran a business ad, in the Tuolumne Independant "as a carpenter, builder and contractor and successor to Starbird and Turner". His son was born, and wife died.

1866 R. J. Starbird married Eunice C. Root, both identified as Columbia residents. "The Great Register implies he was still in Columbia as of June 1866. It also describes him as 6', blue eyes, light hair, fair complexion. It wasn't until he went to Sonora, that he was known as a blacksmith and a wheelwright. His Sonora years which were, known at this point, after 1866, most likely begun by 1870." - Diane Harrington research.


© from the collection of Diane Harrington.
R. J. Starbird - c1880s.


1905 R. C. Davis sells 24 ft by 50 ft section of lot to Wm. Koch who builds a house and carpenter shop on the lot. (AKA Old Maintenance Office, Striplin Cabin, Koch Cabin.)

1960s Carpentry exhibit at the Soderer Building.

1976? Mel Wallace and Pat Karnos open carpentry shop at Soderer Building.

1978 January - Doug and Jo Cummings take over the carpentry concession at Soderer Building.

1998 June - Jim and Lindy Miller open J.C. Miller, Carpenter & Joiner in the Soderer Building.


© Floyd D. P. Øydegaard.
J. C. Miller in front of his business in the Soderer Building - 1999.


2008 October - Jim and Lindy Miller let J. C. Miller, Carpenter & Joiner contract expire.


NOTE: Information on Rufus John Starbird was generously shared for use here by Diane Harrington.



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22725 Main Street
Columbia California 95310-9401

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A WORK IN PROGRESS,
created for the visitors to the Columbia State Historic park.
© Columbia State Historic Park & Floyd D. P. Øydegaard.