Jamison Barn, CA 2019

 

Plumas-Eureka State Park: Originally home of the Northern Maidu people, the area astounds visitors with awe-inspiring peaks and rivers and a preserved legacy of gold mining infrastructure.

 

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PROJECT PARTNER: Plumas-Eureka State Park

SESSION DATES:  August 11-16  | August 18-23

ARRIVAL/DEPARTURE TIMES:  Plan to arrive between 6pm and 8pm on the first day of your project session, and depart after lunch on the last day. Work will generally start around 8am each day, and we’ll wrap up around 4pm.

PROJECT DIFFICULTY: 

SITE INFORMATION:      Tent camping only   showers available

LOCATION:  Plumas-Eureka State Park is located in the mountainous heart of Gold Country, between the Tahoe National Forest and Plumas National Forest. There’s a great lake for swimming after a day’s work and fantastic hiking! Email volunteer@historicorps.org with any questions.

GOOD TO KNOW: No prior experience is required. HistoriCorps will provide all meals, tools, training, and equipment for volunteers on this project. Volunteers are responsible for their own transportation to and from the lodging site. If a project requires a commute, we will plan to carpool to and from the jobsite. More general information is at the bottom of this page. 

HistoriCorps does not charge for its volunteering projects. The majority of project costs are covered by our project partners and grants, but as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, HistoriCorps relies on donations to continue engaging volunteers to save significant historical sites across America for generations to come. Your donation of any amount will make an incredible difference! Increase your impact – make a generous gift today.

Project Site Description & History

The Plumas-Eureka State Park was originally the home of the Northern Maidu people, whose skill as craftsmen and women was renowned. Pieces of the tribe’s intricate beadwork were especially sought after. The discovery of gold in 1848 brought an incredible influx of European miners to the region, and their lust for gold resulted in drastic consequences for the area’s inhabitants. 

In January 1848, the same year Mexico ceded control of the area to the United States, gold was discovered in California. The story of what comes next is an iconic movement in American history. On December 5, 1848, President Polk’s official announcement of the precious metal’s discovery to a national audience catalyzed not just Americans, but gold-seekers from all over the world, to pack up and start the journey to California’s goldfields. The years of sleepy mission towns dotting the landscape had come to an end with the arrival of more than 300,000 speculators. The mass immigration was so fast, and produced so much wealth, that in 1850 California became the Union’s 31st state – in record time.

As word of the land’s wealth began to spread in 1848, more than 300,000 people from the States and abroad moved to California hoping to strike it rich. The sudden mass immigration had significant effect on the region’s indigenous societies, whose communities experienced displacement and attacks by gold-seekers. Meanwhile, San Francisco grew from a town of 200 to a city of 36,000 from 1846-1952. Ships, carrying goods to the new population, often lost crewmen who deserted to the goldfields. Later, the ships themselves were repurposed as warehouses, stores, and even a jail.

Plumas-Eureka State Park, our home for this preservation project, contains incredible historic resources that attract history lovers and adventurous explorers. Several townsites sprung up during the Gold Rush, beginning as tent cities and later becoming permanent towns. The town of Jamison was founded in 1853. As surface deposits of gold began to play out, miners had to explore deeper and deeper into the earth – and the expense of this excavation proved cost-prohibitive for most of the smaller operations. In 1872, a British company acquired much of the Plumas-Eureka mining sites and managed a profitable operation until they sold the sites in 1904. Mining continued until WWII, when wartime restrictions ended operations. By then, more than $8 million in gold had been extracted and processed from the mine’s 65 miles of tunnels.

It wasn’t “all mining, all the time” though. The townsfolk had to have some fun during the cold winters! In 1861, the western hemisphere’s first recorded ski race was held in Plumas County. According to the park, “Snowshoes, or ‘longboards,’ were 12-foot Norwegian-style skis that weighed as much as 20 pounds. Skiers had one long, large ski pole carried between the legs as a brake. On the straight courses, racers reached speeds of more than 80 mph. Skiing became a way of life for sport and travel. Some historians think the tramways for the Plumas Eureka Mine may have been the world’s first ski lifts.”

Today, Plumas-Eureka State Park serves as a site of historic interpretation and unsurpassed outdoor recreation. However, the site’s historic and cultural resources have been deteriorating over the years, and HistoriCorps is excited to partner with the park to undertake critical preservation work to ensure a number of buildings in the park can continue to serve the public.

Above: Jamison Barn, our focus for this preservation project

Use Google Maps to explore this delightful and scenic park! The unforgettable Eureka Peak rises over a peaceful lake of the same name.

Above and below: Jamison Miner’s Cabin, which we will work on if we accomplish the primary scope of work

Scope of Work

Volunteers will work alongside expert field staff to learn the skills necessary to undertake and accomplish this significant preservation project. We’ll focus first on stabilizing the Jamison Barn, and if we complete our scope of work there, we’ll move on to a nearby historic cabin.

  • Replace deteriorated sill plates – 25%
  • Install new wall studs to reinforce deteriorated studs – 20%
  • Replace deteriorated siding – 25%
  • Scrape and paint one exterior wall – 20%

If we complete the above scope of work, volunteers will learn the following skills necessary to preserve a nearby miner’s cabin:

  • Stabilize leaning cabin wall by rejoining it to the building – 10%

Please note: Tasks vary by day and by week, depending on a variety of factors including: weather, project priorities, previous groups’ work, and more. Though it is likely you will get to learn and practice most or all of the above tasks, it is not guaranteed. The higher percentage of the scope a particular task is, the more likely you will get to practice it.

Logistics & More

  • Read our Volunteer FAQ! If you still have a question that’s not answered there, above, or below, please email us at volunteer@historicorps.org. We’re always happy to help.
  • Once you register you will receive an auto-confirmation in your email inbox. If you do not receive this confirmation, contact us at volunteer@historicorps.org to let us know. 
  • Each project session has one volunteer slot for a Kitchen Helper. If you’re interested in lending our Crew Leader & Camp Chef a hand in meal preparation, choose the “Kitchen Helper” position when you register. Kitchen Helpers are welcome to participate on the preservation work if they like, but are not necessarily expected to.
  • Volunteers are responsible for bringing their own tent or other sleeping setup (unless indoor lodging is provided), as well as sleeping gear and other personal gear including sturdy work clothes and work boots. Volunteers are also responsible for their own transportation to and from this project. 
    • Note: If you have a large RV/trailer, please contact us to confirm that your rig will fit in the available space. 
  • All volunteers are required to review and agree to the HistoriCorps Waiver & Release and Code of Conduct during the registration process.
  • We help you prepare for your preservation project through providing a “pre-arrival packet” via email. The packet contains a lot of information like: logistics, safety precautions, a suggested packing list, benefits for volunteers, and more.
  • HistoriCorps projects are multi-day sessions, where you will develop your skills over the course of the session, as well as build camaraderie with your crew and make a significant contribution to the preservation of this building. We can only very occasionally accommodate volunteers who require a shorter session. Please email us at volunteer@historicorps.org for more information.

We are always ready to answer your questions. Once you register, expect us to be in touch a few times before your project begins to confirm attendance, offer advice, and share updates. Thank you always! Really, we can’t do it without you.

Register Online

We are so glad you decided to join this project’s crew! Please choose your preferred session below:

After registering, you should receive an auto-confirmation via email. If you do not receive this confirmation, please contact us at volunteer@historicorps.org.

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