Fountain-Tallman Soda Works

We recently made our first trek to Placerville, California, which has an extremely darling downtown (and a super unfortunate nickname, which we’ll get into in a future post).

But for today, we’re zeroing in in this beautiful stone building, built by John Fountain and Benjamin Tallman in 1852 as a soda water factory. Its wall were built more than two feet thick in order to keep ice and soda supplies cool.

And there’s an added bonus: These building materials also saved the factory from being destroyed by numerous fires — three alone in 1856 — so stands as one of the oldest buildings in Placerville.

After the factory closed, the building served many purposes including the county jail and Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

In 1981, the building was donated to the El Dorado County Historical Society by Fay Ripley Cannon. When it was renovated to become a museum,  lifting up the stone floor revealed a bowie knife (handle long since rotted away), flakes of gold, and pieces of broken glass soda bottles with the original building owner’s mark intact. These items are still on display inside.

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