The oldest hardware store in continuous use west of the Mississippi is Placerville Hardware in Hangtown. Hangtown also goes by the name Placerville located where Highway 49 and 50 intersect in Gold Country California. It has been in business for over 160 years.
The floors are beautiful wood from the era and many of the bins and displays are most likely as old as the building. Walking in see a whole row of pans, used to pan for gold. Plus a few other gold rush items like sluice boxes and metal detectors for that gold rush fever.
Hardware can be found floor to ceiling, and yes it can be found there. Do not fret, there is equal time here, on the other half of the hardware store is an extensive housewares section. There is a large display of water kettles and teacups, always fun to wander through.
It was called Hangtown for a couple of years for good reason – drum roll please – hangings happened here. There are plenty of t-shirts, mugs, shot glasses and artwork boasting the name.
In the mid-1800s, Hangtown was the third largest town in California, after San Francisco and Sacramento. The residents did not feel the name was very friendly so they changed it just a year or two later to Placerville, but over 160 years later the town’s history remains including the name Hangtown.
Placerville has many shops and restaurants that are worthy of exploring. If traveling from San Francisco or Sacramento it is a great place to stop on the way to South Lake Tahoe. Take the time to enjoy part of Gold Rush Country including the oldest hardware store west of the Mississippi.
Store Location –
Placerville True Value Hardware
441 Main St.
Placerville, CA 95667