Native Sons of the Golden West In The Community


Preserving our History | Native Sons of the Golden West Museum

The Native Sons of the Golden West Museum is located in the NSGW building on the main street of Columbia State Historic Park, three miles north of Sonora on highway 49.

Columbia was like many of the Mother Lode gold rush towns. It boomed when “thar was gold in them thar hills” and went bust afterward. But unlike many of its counterparts that literally were erased from the face of the earth by fire, vandalism, overlying development or other factors, Columbia never was completely deserted.

Beginning in the 1920s, the Native Sons spearheaded a movement involving a number of historical groups to preserve the largely intact town as a state park. The effort was crowned with success in 1945 when the California Legislature passed a bill to acquire the old business section of the town for that purpose.

The 19th century Native Sons hall was among the buildings that were secured in that process. The state leases it back to the Native Sons. They continue to use the upper story as their meeting hall. The ground floor houses a walk-in free museum, which is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except Thanksgiving and Christmas. It features displays of many objects from the organization’s colorful past.

Scholarship Programs
Dedicated to Helping Young People in Our State Achieve Their Goals

The Native Sons of the Golden West provides for a number of annual scholarships;
$2000.00 scholarship for California students seeking to attend college or are beginning their college studies.
$1000.00 scholarships for California students seeking to attend college or are beginning their college studies.
$1200.00 scholarship for California students seeking to attend vocational studies.

Who is Eligible?: Eligible applicants include junior or senior high school students, community college students, or freshmen in four-year institutions of higher learning. All must be members of the Native Sons in good standing or relatives of a Native Son in good standing.

Fourth Grade Essay Contest
The fourth grade is the one that has been designated by state educational authorities to emphasize the study of California history. As an incentive to encourage students in this grade to develop a particular interest in the subject, and to encourage them to improve their writing skills, about one-third of our parlors sponsor essay contests for fourth grade students.

There is a great flexibility in topics that the students are permitted to select, and the parlors are encouraged to be as generous and variable as possible in offering supplementary prizes to help promote student participation.

Each year, an overall statewide essay contest winner is selected. That student’s essay is published in our statewide newspaper, and the young person’s essay is displayed for the coming year at our museum in Columbia State Park.


Native Sons of the Golden West