2020-2021_Nevada County Gold

sandy50

An in depth introduction to Historic Nevada County, California including Grass Valley, Nevada City, Penn Valley, Truckee and Sierra County.

Malakoff

Diggins &

North

San Juan

Things to See and Do

DAVID CROSS

RHM IMAGES

Hose It Down

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Stark landscape greets visitors who venture

to Malakoff Diggins State Historic

Park. It was created between the 1850s

and 1880s by hydraulic gold mining.

It all began when miners looking for new

opportunities left what is now Nevada City

and stumbled upon a rich gold deposit.

North San Juan

Malakoff Diggins

First they panned but discovered other

ways to retrieve the gold.

By 1853, an even better method was

devised. Miners went from the streams to

using hoses to aim water at hillsides using

giant nozzles. The gravel would be

washed into large sluices. Huge cliffs,

which can still be seen today, were carved

out by the mighty streams of water. Highly

successful it was called hydraulic mining.

The North Bloomfield Gravel and

Mining Company formed in the late

1860s. A large operation, it constructed

ways to bring water to the mine site

including 100 miles of canals and ditches.

They also found a way to drain the debris

or tailings into the Yuba River.

However, there was a downside. As the

operation grew there were concerns

about the debris that was reaching the

valley. Farmland was being destroyed.

Marysville suffered a devastating flood.

A dam on the Yuba River failed.

There were years of litigation. Then in

1884 Judge Lorenzo Sawyer issued a

permanent injunction against dumping

tailings into the Yuba River. This decision

ended hydraulic mining.

Today the park includes the ghost town

of North Bloomfield and remnants of the

main mine. There is also a museum and

visitor center open from Memorial Day to

Labor Day. Check out special events like

living history day. Recreational opportunities

range from swimming and camping to

hiking on 20 miles of trails.

The park is open every day from sunrise

to sunset, with tours in the summer.

Campground and Cabin Reservations

(800) 444-7275. Directions available at

malakoffdigginsstatepark. (530) 265-2740.

Once the third largest town in Nevada County, North San Juan is located in a rural setting on Hwy. 49.

First settled in 1853, it was an important commercial area for hydraulic mining interests with several

thousand inhabitants.

Now a relatively quiet spot, the town’s center still has buildings that date back to the time the mines

were active. Civic pride comes to the forefront in early June as locals and visitors gather at the annual

Cherry Festival which has been held for 125 years.

San Juan Ridge

Worth exploring, “The Ridge” is accessed by Tyler Foot Crossing Road. In the spring, stop by Ananda

Village site of the Crystal Hermitage Gardens and 17,000 tulips. The gardens are also open summer

and fall. (530) 478-7587.

Down the road is the North Columbia School House Cultural Center, a local gathering place. The

school house was built in 1875 by the mining community.

Worth noting is the area had the very first long distance telephone line. It covered 60 miles and became operational less than three

years after Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. The phone used for this historic conversation is in the Smithsonian Institute.

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KIAL JAMES PHOTOGRAPHY

50 | NEVADA COUNTY GOLD

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