I was excited to find what remained of the gold rush era Swerer's Store when we first visited the Tuttletown area in 1975. We found portions of the front and a side stone wall standing, and we made this image from what had been the store’s interior.
One of the reasons I was interested in this historic building was because I had read that Mark Twain had visited Swerer's Store while staying nearby at the Gillis cabin on Jackass Hill in the winter of 1864 - 65. It was during that stay that he heard a funny story about a frog jumping contest at the Angels Camp Hotel which was the basis for his short story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” The first publication of that story in the fall of 1865 made him famous.
An important new documentary released in February, 2015, 88 Days in the Mother Lode: Mark Twain finds his voice, offers new information about Twain's stay at the Gillis cabin and how it changed his life. Showings are planned at regional and documentary film festivals and a DVD can be purchased from the filmmakers here, www.thisnthatfilms.net/mark-twain.html. A review of the documentary from the Mark Twain Forum can be found here, www.twainweb.net/reviews/88Days.html.