Sonora, one of the oldest cities in California, was incorporated on May 1, 1851. Only ten cities have been incorporated longer. Sonora was historically referred to as the ‘Queen of the Southern Mines.’
Like so many Gold Rush towns, Sonora had a wild reputation in its early days. According to Frank Marryat, who wrote about his 1851 experiences in Sonora, “No church bells here usher in the Sabbath . . . every man carries arms, generally a Colt revolver, buckled behind, with no attempt at concealment.” While not totally accurate as to the lack of church bells, since the Catholic Padre Arnault was here in the fall of 1849 to establish St. Patrick’s, it does give one a feeling that Sonora was a pretty wild place.