Latitude / Longitude:
38°26′28″N 120°51′16″W / 38.44111°N 120.85444°W / 38.44111
197 m (646 ft)
Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
Drytown (formerly, Dry Town) is a census-designated place in Amador County, California. It is located 2.5 miles (4.0 km) south of Plymouth on Dry Creek, at an elevation of 646 ft (197 m). The population at the 2010 census was 167. The town is registered as a California Historical Landmark. The community is in ZIP code 95699 and area code 209. Today Drytown is home to a population of less than 200 people and about 5 antiques stores. But once before it was a well-known hotspot thanks to the gold mines with a population of 10,000 people.
Drytown is the oldest community in Amador County, and the first in which gold was discovered. It took its name from Dry Creek, which runs dry during the summer. However, it was certainly not “dry”, as stories tell of there being up to 26 saloons, of which just one remains, The Drytown Club.
In the early 1960s, the Claypipers purchased a “fire engine” for Drytown — a well used but serviceable Red Ford 1-Ton pickup truck with built-in 400 gallon water tank and pump — and constructed a “fire station” (garage) building to house it on the west side of the ‘T’ intersection of Spanish St and New Chicago Road. In 1963, the 3 man volunteer Drytown Fire Department, under then-Fire Chief (and San Francisco peninsula transplant) Bob Brown, was called out three times, and saved two of the three homes involved. The third was fully engulfed in flames before the call came in, but they were able to prevent the adjacent propane tank from erupting as well as the spread of the fire to the very dry surrounding grassy fields. In January 2010, the “fire engine” was nowhere to be found, and the “fire Station’ building had been fitted with man-doors and had a ‘For Rent’ sign on it.
The gold started to peter out by 1857 and when a fire destroyed most of the town that year, most of its inhabitants packed up and moved to more successful mines elsewhere in the county. The town was only saved by the construction of State Route 49, which went through it, in 1920. See the Drytown, CA website for additional history and current information.