|Population: < 2,000 people|
A small town of Colfax with just 1,500 citizens has nonetheless a city status, which it received in 1910, with more than 150-year history. As many other California cities and towns, it was founded at the time of gold rush. It was dangerous to travel to the Sierra Nevada Mountains in quest of gold in winter, so the gold season was mostly in summer. In winter the prospectors went down and found rest in small towns and villages. Colfax was one of them; at the time it had another name, Alder Grove.
When the building of the South Pacific Railway was launched and it turned out that it would be laid just several miles from Alder Grove, the whole town made an unexpected “move” – it just uprooted and moved close to where the railway was being built. Moreover, it changed its name to become Colfax, in honor of Schuyler Colfax, one of the most famous US politicians of the time, a founder of the Republican Party, a Vice President under Ulysses S. Grant. He was the first person to preside over both houses of Congress, first he was for several years The Speaker of the House of Representatives, and next as Vice-President he was president of the U.S. Senate.
Since that time up to the present days the life of the Colfax City has to do with the railway. Right through the very heart of the city, the downtown, passes the main line of the biggest transcontinental railway system, Union Pacific. Colfax is one of the Amtrak stations on the route called California Zephyr, connecting San Francisco with the "capital" of Middle West, Chicago.
Naturally, most of the historical and architectural attractions of Colfax are also about the railway – passenger railway station, built in 1905, historical cargo station (1880), ancient railway cars etc. Some memories of the golden rush are also preserved around Colfax. Taking a hike along the special trail for tourists, one could see all these attractions and also the picturesque nature of Sierra Nevada foothills.