KNIGHT FOUNDRY … PRESERVING OUR HISTORY
Sutter Creek’s Historic, Industrial Crown Jewel. The Knight Foundry, set in the heart of Sutter Creek, California, is America’s last water-powered foundry and machine shop. Established in 1873 by Samuel Knight, this extraordinary facility includes the unique historic equipment and machinery, still in place in its original context, just as it was during its Gold Rush-era heyday.
Knight Foundry is nationally recognized as a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark and a California Registered Historical Landmark. The Foundry is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was named by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of America’s eleven most endangered historic places.
As a part of Amador County’s industrial heritage corridor, the Knight Foundry will join the Kennedy Mine, Kennedy Tailing Wheels, Central Eureka Mine, and Miners’ Bend Park to tell the story of how local industry created, and then contributed to, the viability of the Mother Lode communities of Sutter Creek, Amador City, Jackson, and others. The Foundry will serve as an educational resource that provides a unique window into Amador’s history and heritage.
A Unique Educational Facility
The Knight Foundry is a premier relic of Mother Lode gold mining history. From precision equipment for our hard-rock gold mines, to the lights of San Francisco, to the impulse turbine systems that powered many of the state’s hydroelectric plants, the Foundry literally helped to build California. When restoration is completed, this unique facility will allow partnership opportunities for high schools, colleges, and universities to provide hands-on training to engineering, museum studies, and history students, and will be a center for teaching crafts and skills that are in danger of dying out.
A National Mechanical Engineering Monument
The Knight Foundry is the last water-powered foundry and machine shop in America, and one of the nation’s best preserved 19th-century industrial complexes. The preservation and restoration of the Knight Foundry provides an unparalleled opportunity to protect the history of industrial technologies as they were traditionally implemented, and to pass them on to future generations.
This is a historic site. It is now fully operational with metal pours and blacksmithing demonstrations. There are tours conducted by people who know how a foundry works. There are many original pieces of machinery. There are many displays with explanations and old photos. Great experience in the way things were.
—Neil, May 2021
Knight Foundry is a national treasure. It’s the last water powered foundry in the United States, possibly in the world. This group of volunteers work very hard to keep the hundred-year-old machines operating the way they did during the Gold Rush. It’s well worth a visit. Also the town of Sutter Creek is very charming.
—John, February 2021
If you love to see working history you need to go here.
—Roger, January 2020
So much history to take in! Knight Foundry is a wonderful place to visit and see how the people back in those days made things work.
—William, April 2021
“It is a wonderful experience visiting the site. I highly recommend that you visit.”
—Mark, June 2021
EXPERIENCE THE KNIGHT FOUNDRY
Public Knight Foundry Open for Visitors
Knight Foundry in Sutter Creek is America’s last water-powered foundry and machine shop and a premier relic of Mother Lode gold mining history. Join us for one of our Self-Guided Tours on the second Saturday of every month.
Every month on Tour Day they fire up the antique blacksmithing forge, demonstrate the magnificent and still-intact machinery, and show visitors the ancient art of sand casting. You can tour at your own pace, meeting and talking with expert docents throughout the complex. All demonstrations are included in the ticket price.
Knight Foundry opens at 10 a.m and the last tour tickets are sold at 3 p.m.
Admission is $15 for adults 18 and older, $5 for students age 5-17, free for children under 5.
Discover the compelling history that is historic Knight Foundry!
Upcoming Second Saturday 2023 Open Dates
June 10, July 8, August 12, September 9, October 14, November 11, December 9
Classes at the Foundry
If you’re interested in joining the mailing list for future Foundry classes, including Pattern Making and Introduction to Sand Casting, please contact us.
If your family, group, or organization would like to arrange a private tour of Knight Foundry:
- Please submit the Contact Us form
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Or phone 209-560-6160
Can’t make it to the Foundry? Visit our online Gift Shop.
See you at the Foundry! 81 Eureka Street, Sutter Creek, California 95685
Meet the Knight Foundry Alliance Founding Board of Directors
Frank Cunha, Carma Zisman, Robin Peters, Josie Cadieux-Faillers, Ed Arata, Mimi Arata, Ronald Edgar, and Joe Harralson
KNIGHT FOUNDRY PRESS
FOX40 SACRAMENTO: Summer Gourmet Burger Bar at Sutter Creek’s Historic Knight Foundry
AMADOR LEDGER DISPATCH: Knight Foundry themed exhibit wins Best of Show at California State Fair
AMADOR LEDGER DISPATCH: Plaques Dedicated at Historic Knight Foundry
ABC10.COM: The last of its kind: Restoring Knight Foundry. By: John Bartell
RTV Amador County Video: Knight Foundry Plaques Rededication
INDUSTRIAL HEATING: Back to Your Roots: Knight Foundry. By: Reed Miller
SANTA ROSA PRESS DEMOCRAT: Charming Sutter Creek makes great weekend getaway. By: Pam and Gary Baker
THE NATIVE SON: Historic Knight Foundry, the Last Water-Powered Machine Foundry in the United States. By Kimberly Wooten
SACRAMENTO VALLEY: Knight Foundry: A Window into the Industrial Technology of the 1800s. By: Carl Gwyn
MERCURY NEWS: California’s newest historic site is pure gold for families. By: Jackie Burrell
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