Fountain-Tallman Soda Works

The Fountain-Tallman Soda Works is a historic building in Placerville, El Dorado County, California. It currently houses the Fountain & Tallman Museum, which is owned and operated by the El Dorado County Historical Society. The rustic vernacular Victorian brick building, in the Gold Country, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 13, 1984.

The two-story masonry structure was built as a soda water factory in 1852. The brick walls of the building are more than 2 feet (0.61 m) thick so ice and soda supplies could be kept cool. These construction materials protected it from fires that had destroyed surrounding buildings, and as a result it is the oldest building in Placerville.

The water was pulled from the spring out back. An odd looking contraption housed inside the building added carbon dioxide (CO2) to the water, it is currently on display. Many miners apparently fancied a good soda water especially on a hot miner's day. The original floor was stone and from the close of the Soda water factory the building served for many different purposes and under many different owners, at one time it was the town jail. When the building was donated to the National Historical Society it became a museum upon the contingency that a public restroom be installed. Lifting up the stone floor revealed a bowie knife, handle long since rotted away, flakes of gold, and pieces of broken glass soda bottles with the original building owners mark intact. These items are still on display inside, two nice old ladies will tell you all about everything.

The building was converted into a museum using the funds from the estate of Placerville native Stella Tracy. Originally called the Placerville Historical Museum, it contains some of Tracy's turn-of-the-century furniture and photos as well as other exhibits of 19th and 20th-century memorabilia.

Another nearby soda works, the John Pearson Soda Works, is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Building Activity

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