California's Only Public Gallows

Field review by the editors.

Downieville, California

Built in 1885, used once, then stuck in an attic until 1927. Except for one year, it has stood on the lawn next to the Sierra County Courthouse ever since. Fully restored in 1988, its re-dedication was attended by the descendants of James O'Neill, the only person ever hanged on it. A gate across its stairs discourages photo op antics.

Although this is California's only public gallows, plenty of Californians have unofficially and publicly swung at the end of a rope from tree limbs, hooks, bridges, telegraph poles, etc.

California's Only Public Gallows

101 Nevada St., Downieville, CA
Hwy 49 into town. Turn south onto Nevada St. (just west of Commercial St.), cross the river, and drive to Courthouse Square. The gallows stands adjacent to the courthouse.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Haunted Painting - Firehouse MuseumHaunted Painting - Firehouse Museum, Nevada City, CA - 23 mi.
"Ladies Of The Evening" Rock, Nevada City, CA - 23 mi.
Forest Gift Shop RuinsForest Gift Shop Ruins, Cisco Grove, CA - 23 mi.
In the region:
Shortest State Highway in California, Placerville, CA - 53 mi.

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