When walking into the Silver Dollar, you will find yourself wondering, “Where’s Miss Kitty, and the high noon shoot out?” Immediately after entering the establishment, you will be wrapped up in both its intriguing past of sex and murder, and its present feel of western charm. Now locally owned by Gary and Jacki Cummings, the Silver Dollar Saloon of Marysville has been through many changes over the past century. Built in 1851, the Silver Dollar of Marysville served as both a saloon and hotel. After a long day of searching for gold, miners would share their dreams of wealth, and lose their hearts to the ladies of the Silver Dollar. The upstairs brothel was the last of its kind in California, closing not long ago, in 1972.
The thought of the Silver Dollar in the early 1970’s (then the Guatemala Café) brings back eerie chills to the residents of Yuba Sutter. Serial killer, Juan Corona, took the life of one of his victims in the men’s room of what is now known as the Silver Dollar Saloon. He is said to have lured his victim into the rest room with intentions of homosexual acts when he attacked and killed the unknown man. The killings of 25 local migrant workers and homeless men were, at the time, the largest case of serial killings attributed to one man in United States history.
Some say the building is still haunted by ghosts of its past. With reports of flickering lights, icy breezes on warm nights, and swaying chandeliers, the Silver Dollar may receive visits from more than just its usual guests. Inger Borstad, former employee, claims there were many nights when footsteps from the empty second floor were heard.
Adding to the mystery of the saloon is its unique bar. It is a dark cherry color, with hand carvings, large mirrors, and $1,014 in authentic silver dollars and Indian head pennies embedded throughout the bar top. Though the décor of the bar is beautiful, it’s the intriguing story surrounding it that really plays with your mind. Where did it come from? No one seems to know for sure. Some say it came from Nevada in sections, others say it was built specially for the saloon shortly after it was established. There are many tales that tell the origin of the bar, but none have been proven true. Regardless of where it came from, it is extremely beautiful, and only helps to add to the uniqueness of the saloon.
Located in Marysville, the Silver Dollar Saloon serves as a restaurant and bar, open seven days a week. Antiques from the western times are still strewn about the restaurant including a wonderful display of original Winchester guns and ammunition. Also, the upstairs, formerly used as the hotel and brothel, is still in tact. The bar upstairs, though not as extravagant as the one in the restaurant, is also very intriguing, with a secret passage way to another room.
It is a charming place with a warm atmosphere. The Silver Dollar Saloon is a unique combination of “Gun Smoke” and “Cheers”, in that the setting finds you looking for Miss Kitty to get you another round, and everybody knows your name. As their motto says, “History never tasted so good!”