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Cozmic Soda

Cozmic Soda


It was almost 40 years ago, that my small daughters and I moved from Galt to a rental house at the top of a hill in Placerville. The move felt daring and a bit desperate; yet it became an adventure worth having for so many reasons.

The best reason to share about why this was a good adventure is this: The gold rush history here is so apparent in the old stone buildings and surrounding mining artifacts that a short walk from our house could trigger your imagination full force. Before long you might switch your pace from a stroll to a saunter -- like a miner who just discovered a lode.

We liked to invite family and friends and take them on that short walk to see all the good stuff. The good stuff included going for a snack inside the Placerville Soda Works building, which is the subject of my painting. The back room of this historical building ends in a short mine tunnel.

We pretended that the tunnel was deep enough that it went under our house, but that was not likely. Yet the idea had enough intrigue because we could then claim that we lived on top of a gold mine. How exotic is that?

In reality, the tunnel was used primarily for keeping things cold, and gold was not forthcoming. In the mid-1850's a Scottish immigrant built the stone building next to the tunnel for his business of bottling beverages and liquor sales. Immigrants get things done, you see, and the building with a built-in tunnel for refrigerator was profitable in that way for many years.

Since then the business within have changed many times, but in 2003 my friend Kim Cooper Bruyn bought it and turned it into the Cozmic Café. It remained the 'Cozmic' for many years before she sold the business and moved out of state.

I still refer to it as the Cozmic Café and those are my fondest memories of this place. If you come and visit some day (post-pandemic, of course) I will take you inside for a cup of coffee and a look-see of the backroom – the short tunnel which sparked our imaginings so many times.

I will be making the original available for a donation to a good non-profit, but I've had requests for prints as well. Let me know if you are interested?

  margie lopez read