High Noon | 1952
The opening scenes, under the credits, were shot at the Iverson Ranch near Chatsworth, north of Los Angeles, but the fictitious ‘Hadleyville, New Mexico’ was to have been played by the Main Street of Columbia State Historic Park, a preserved goldrush town in northern California.
By the time the crew arrived, however, spring had arrived and the bleak, bare main street of Columbia had burst into green leafiness.
In the end, they used the Western Street at, by coincidence, Columbia Pictures in Burbank.
Some of the real mining town remains in the picture, though. You can't miss the white picket fence of Sam Fuller (Harry Morgan), the cowardly friend who sends his wife to claim he's not at home. This is the Wilson/McConnell House on Main Street, a few doors away from Visitor Center.
The house was built in 1878 for Charles Wilson, a shoe store owner, who died before it was completed. His widow Rose lived there until the 1930s. It changed hands a couple of times and was restored in 1941. It was the last privately-owned home in the town. It was bought by the state of California in 2005.
My photo was taken in 1998 while it was still occupied by owner Mrs McConnell, who was happy for me to take the photo of her. She died in 2003 at the age of 99.
Columbia State Historic Park in the heart of the California Mother Lode, is a living gold rush town featuring the largest single collection of existing gold rush-era structures in the state. It's just east of the town of Columbia, 45 miles northeast of Modesto in Tuolumne County.
A few miles southeast of Columbia you'll find the church where Kane pleads for special deputies to face Frank Miller. It's St Joseph's Catholic Church, Gardner Avenue at Tuolumne Road in Tuolumne City, not a city at all but a tiny town just off Route 108.
Railtown 1897 is open Thursday to Monday.
From April to October, you can take a 6-mile, 40-minute round-trip train ride every hour between 11am and 3pm.
For the movie, the railroad station was built alongside a watertower at Warnerville, about 15 miles to the southwest.