Historic Preservation

Historic preservation in Tuolumne County begins with an acknowledgment of the important role that the past plays in today’s life. In many areas of the county, the landscape has been formed by man’s early activities; be it the rock outcroppings containing bedrock mortars to tell us a story of prehistoric life, or the limestone outcroppings near Columbia, exposed by early mining activities.

Architectural Influences

Our architecture also provides us with a constant reminder of the way things were. The general plan recognizes the importance of the county’s cultural resources in its cultural resources management element. It establishes goals and policies to identify and preserve the county’s cultural resources, and to establish a means of recognizing and managing resources, including incentives to incorporate this rich history into county tourism and future development.

Cultural Resources Management Element

The Cultural Resources Management Element is implemented through Chapter 14 of the Tuolumne County Ordinance Code, the county's cultural resources management ordinance. To help preserve historic architecture, owners of eligible properties may participate in the Mills Act program, offering property tax relief to owners of eligible historic homes and commercial properties within the unincorporated areas of Tuolumne County.

The Historic Preservation Review Commission (HPRC), formed by the Board of Supervisors, advises county staff and decision-making bodies (such as the Planning Commission or the Board of Supervisors) on certain historic properties, including those owned by the county.