Colusa-Sacramento River State Recreation Area
Visitors to the beautiful Sacramento State Park at Colusa would never guess that it was once an unsightly city dump.
The park was formerly dedicated in May of 1964 and is today a beautiful area that is enjoyed by thousands of campers, picnickers, boaters and anglers annually.
This area offers visitors campsites, picnic sites, and a launch ramp for small boats. The riverbank cottonwoods and willows shelter one of the finest fishing stretches in California, with king salmon, steelhead, rainbow trout and striped bass some of the catches. The river is on a major migratory route for birds of the Pacific flyway and provides home to an amazing number of species. The River Patwin Indian tribe once lived nearby the area and in 1872 John Muir camped near what is now the park.
On top of the launch ramp there is a .5 mile nature trail that will take the park visitor out to the Sacramento River. There is also a paved biking/walking path on the levy from the park to Bridge Street.
Sacramento Wildlife Refuge Complex
More than 42,000 acres including a number of refuges make up the Sacramento Wildlife Refuge Complex. Three of those refuges are located in Colusa County: Colusa, Delavan, and Sacramento.
Auto trails and routes winding through the grasslands, marshes, permanent ponds and seasonal wetlands make up a varied habitat at Colusa. Species of birds such as pelicans, egrets, red tailed hawks, white-faced ibis, herons, grebes, northern barriers, and barn owls can be seen there. In 2011 a rare falcated duck was first sighted at the Colusa Refuge and as predicted it returned in 2012. Visitors came to the refuge from around the country and even overseas to see the duck.
Daylight hiking is permitted at the Colusa and Sacramento River Refuges. Hunting is permitted during the designated hunting season.
It was in 1979 when the Colusa City Council passed a resolution designating a group of eight brick structures on Main Street as historic. The buildings are unique in that they were originally residential and commercial dwellings in the hub that once was Colusa’s “Chinatown”.
They are a row of nearly identical buildings overlooking the Sacramento River. Today they are home to a diverse group of retail and office tenants. Originally the Chinese population was restricted by custom and prejudice to reside and work in this section of town. The Colusan Chinese in 1890 replaced formerly old wooden structures with the masonry ones still there today.
Prior to the renovation of the district many of the building fell into decline and were used for storage and loading for produce grown on surrounding farms. Many legends exist about the legacy of these turn-of-the-century buildings. Handed down have been tales of gambling, mysterious networks of tunnels that ran under the city streets, and even a few of paranormal activities in the buildings.
These buildings bear witness to a significant reminder of the 19th Century Chinese Cultural Heritage in this area.
Just across the street is the Colusa Levee Scenic Park which provides a peaceful spot for a warm weather picnic or lunch break.
Historic Colusa County Courthouse
The Southern style architecture of the Colusa County Courthouse is a source of pride for the county residents.
The Courthouse is the second oldest in the state having been built in 1861. It reflects the roots of the county’s early settlers who came from the deep south. The main entrance is home to a marble statue of George Washington which was presented to the county in 1861 as recognition of the local citizens’ outstand contribution to the Washington National Memorial Fund. The largest proportional amount was donated from Colusa County.
Sacramento Valley Museum
Located at 1491 E Street in Williams, the Sacramento Valley Museum is a wealth of history for its visitors.
The Museum is housed in the former Williams High School. Itself historic, the building is now home to more that 100 years of items reflecting life in the Sacramento Valley.
The museum is designed as an easy informative tour site with a variety of themed rooms. Displays depict aspects of every day life through exhibits like an authentic 19th century general store complete with bolts of gingham, bins of grain, and stick candies. There is a saddlery and blacksmith shop, doll collections and many other exhibits. In all, there are 19 rooms of beautiful antique furnishings, photographs and even early legal documents and newspapers.
From April to November the museum is open Wednesday-Saturday from 10 am until 4 pm. The hours are the same during the winter months, but it is open only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For more information call (530) 473-2978.
The "Smallest Church in the World"
The Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows is called the ‘smallest church in the world’. It is located just outside of Grimes along Highway 45.
The little chapel is big enough only for the presiding priest to be inside. It marks the site of the first Catholic Mass in Colusa County, an open-air mass celebrated under a big oak tree in May of 1856 by Father Peter Magagnotto, a Passionist priest from Marysville, CA. Mass was celebrated thereafter at the spot by occasional visiting priests from the Marysville clergy.
In 1864 a German Missionary, Father Lefauber conducted a mission at the site and, at the conclusion of services, made arrangements for building a church there, but the project was abandoned when it was decided to build the church in Colusa. Masses and visits continued at the site as there were no churches closer than Colusa.
In 1883 Mrs. Anna Myers deeded a half acre including the site of the first Mass to the Catholic Church. Later that same year Father Michael Wallrath, pastor of the Colusa church decided something more than the wooden cross was needed to commemorate the site’s historical significance. Using some surplus brick, which he had kilned for buildings in Colusa, he erected the present small brick building, containing an alter, within a few feet of the already existing wooden cross. He dedicated the shrine to Our Lady of Sorrows.
The shrine later fell into disuse and disrepair until the Knights of Columbus of Colusa Council No. 2145 undertook restoration of it in 1922. The old oak tree has been removed and the wooden cross was replaced with a large white cement cross set in a cairn of stone. Many visitors stop at the shrine each year to light a candle, make a donation and sign the guest book.