Colfax Area Historical Society

The Colfax Area Historical Society (CAHS) preserves the local history of Colfax, California,
the surrounding area, and the railroads, by collecting stories, photographs, and artifacts
about the people and buildings in this part of the Sierra foothills.

The Colfax Area Heritage Museum is open daily, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
99 Railroad Street, Colfax, CA 95713
(It is located in the Colfax Passenger Depot)
Phone: (530) 346-8599

Colfax history
Museum & archives
Research resources *new*
About the CAHS
FAQs (Q&A)

Colfax's Shadow Art Tour

Download the new guide to Colfax's Shadow Art

June 22, 2016

Walking around downtown Colfax, you may have noticed the Shadow Art painted on walls of buildings and retaining walls. These murals were created by Jim Bowers and Foxey McCleary. The mural shown here is located on S. Auburn St.. The Grace Hubley Foundation has funded a guide to all of the murals, which is a PDF file that you can download and print or view on any device that displays PDF files. Click here to download or view the guide.

Shadow Art on S. Auburn St., Colfax, CA,
created by Jim Bowers and Foxey McCleary

This guide includes photos of the murals and a walking guide to their locations.
It also includes biographies and photos of the artists.


The Iowa Hill Divide Trilogy by Robin Yonash

Second Book in the Trilogy Is Published

Patrons of Mike Papas' Saloon (from the Henderson Collection).

Towns and People of the Iowa Hill Divide, the second book in the Iowa Hill Trilogy by Robin Yonash is now available for purchase locally at the Colfax Area Heritage Museum or online at

People and the settlements they live in make up the human history of a place. This book is about the towns of the Iowa Hill Divide in Placer County and the people who lived in them from the Gold Rush era to the present day.

• Robin's series documents the rich history of the Iowa Hill Divide. Based on extensive research, Towns and People of the Iowa Hill Divide includes:

• Detailed annotated history of the founding of Iowa Hill.

• Detailed annotated history of the "old" Iowa Hill Store, which was originally built about 1853 and lasted until 1968.

• An examination of the validity of various legends about Iowa Hill, such as Iowa Hill was once considered for the State Capitol.

• History of other towns on the Iowa Hill Divide, including Damascus, Humbug Canyon, and Wisconsin Hill.

• Biographies and family trees for several founding families.

• Biographies of various notable citizens and other residents, including Jacob Neff, Mel Henderson, and Lyman Gilmore.

• A discussion of the influence of women, African-Americans, Chinese, and Native-Americans on the Iowa Hill Divide.

• Numerous photographs, some published for the first time, plus maps and other illustrations, and a list of sources.

Proceeds from the purchase of this book at the Colfax Area Heritage Museum benefit the Colfax Area Historical Society. Purchases from support the Iowa Hill Community Club.
Watch for book three of the tril-ogy, Gold and Fire: A History of the Iowa Hill Divide, which is expected to be published this fall.

Volume 1 of The Iowa Hill Divide trilogy, Schools of the Iowa Hill Divide is also available.


Upcoming meetings

July 14, 2016
Thursday, 10 a.m.
Summer executive board meeting

September 17, 2016
Saturday, 7 p.m.
Summer general membership meeting and program.

This is the annual meeting that includes CAHS board elections, changes to the by-laws, and other business..

CAHS meetings are held at the Colfax Passenger Depot.

View the full 2016 calendar

Do you have an idea for a program?

Do you have a passion for history that you would like to share? Would you like to put on a program?

If so, please contact Walt or Bonnie Wilson at (530) 878-6640, or email them at