The Columbia Hill Schoolhouse
The Columbia Hill Schoolhouse is perhaps the only remaining Gold Rush structure left in the
settlement. Built for $3,000 in 1875, the shiplap-sided structure stands inside of a sharp turn
of the highway, its simple, classic design quite striking against the evergreen backdrop of tall
pines. This is the second schoolhouse to serve the citizens of Columbia Hill, the first was
either abandoned or torn down in order to mine the ground beneath it. A man by the name of Mr.
O'Neil was the first teacher, having also taught at the previous school. In 1877 his class
consisted of some sixty students ranging from five to eighteen years of age. The structure served
as a schoolhouse almost continuously until 1979, when it was closed for not meeting
earthquake-protection standards. The local community restored the building in the early 1980's
and is now known as the North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center. The center sponsors and
produces quality events throughout the year, such as poetry readings, storytelling, art shows,
folk festivals, and much more.