Albany Flat

During 1851, when the placers of Six Mile Creek were proving incredibly rich, a mining camp known as Albany Flat sprang into prominence. Before long an estimated fifteen hundred miners were working the creeks, gulches and ravines in this area, mining great quantities of gold which they readily spent at the stores, restaurants, and saloons that appeared almost overnight. At one time, the stretch of road on both sides of what is now the last building of Albany Flat, the Romaggi Adobe, was lined with buildings and it looked like the town had gained a measure of permanence. But once the rich placers were depleted, the camp declined even quicker than it had grown, and soon the place was deserted. By 1856, three miners and one merchant were the sole inhabitants, and Albany Flat was just a wide spot of countryside on the road between Carson Hill and Angels Camp.

The Romaggi Adobe

 Although often referred to as the Romaggi Adobe, the structure is actually constructed of selected slabs of local schist, held together by adobe. The building is huge, with two stories and a large basement. At one time an additional wooden structure was added which was at least as big as the main portion of the ruin. This wooden part is no longer present.

James Romaggi arrived from Genoa in 1850 and settled in Albany Flat in 1851. He built this stone and adobe home for his wife Louisa and their five children. It was located on a sloping hillside, and being a rancher at heart, he planted orchards and vineyards all about his surrounding land. James and his family lived in the upper story of the stone building, and possibly in part of the wooden structure. Downstairs on the main floor of the stone building, the Romaggis ran a small store where they sold bread, bacon, spices, flour, and fruit and vegetables in season. A portion of the room was used as a bar and card room.

Close up of the Adobe wall construction.

Today this fantastic building stands gaping alongside of the highway. At one time, the tarmac and its speeding denizens came within a foot of the structure itself, inviting disaster. Thankfully, the state has re-routed Hwy 49 away from the old ruin which will undoubtedly prolong its existence. Stopping to look into this building is a must; the five large rooms and huge basement, the exposed rafters and intricate construction provide a fascinating look at classic Gold Country architecture. Stone foundations of several outlying buildings are scattered about the adjoining fields, testifying to the fact that this was once a busy and important place during the Gold Rush.