PROJECT PARTNER: California State Parks, Malakoff-Diggins State Historic Park
SESSION DATES: September 15-20 | September 22-27 | September 29 – October 4 | October 6-11
LOCATION: Only 26 miles from Nevada City, CA, drivers will be inspired by the scenery and history held in the hilly roads leading to the park. We camped inside the park at Chute Hill Campground.
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HistoriCorps volunteers adventured to North Bloomfield in 2018 to begin restoration work on the town’s signature schoolhouse. When we heard we were invited back to continue our great work in 2019, we couldn’t wait to share the good news with our volunteers! Read below to find out why this state park is particularly special:
From Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park’s website:
“In 1851, three gold prospectors discovered a rich gravel deposit in a nearby stream. In need of supplies, one of the miners was sent to town with instructions not to divulge their location. After imbibing at a local saloon, he boasted of a great find and upon returning from Nevada City, was secretly followed by nearly 100 prospectors. Despite their efforts, they did not find their fortunes and left the area calling the creek a ‘Humbug.’ A few miners stayed and called the new mining camp ‘Humbug City.’
“Other miners came into the area in 1852 and 1853: This second wave of miners employed newly created hydraulic methods and found gold in sufficient quantities to justify settling and expanding the camp into a full-fledged townsite.
“By 1855, Humbug City resembled a small town with its first hotel, the Hotel de France. With over 400 residents, the town became known as North Bloomfield, California in 1857 when the post office was established. Humbug was a name given to “played-out” creeks and mining claims everywhere during the gold rush. The name was so common during this period that the post office required that the name be changed!
“…North Bloomfield experienced its heyday from the late 1860’s to 1884, with nearly 1,500 inhabitants and more than 200 buildings serving as a supply base for the township. These buildings included 5 hotels, 8 saloons, 2 livery stables, 2 dry goods stores, 2 breweries, 3 boot makers, 3 fraternal organizations, a school, a barbershop, a drug store, a butcher, a baker, a dairy, and 2 churches.
“…In 1884, the Sawyer Decision was handed down to curtail the wanton disposal of hydraulic mining debris into waterways. Hydraulic mining continued for many years but at only a fraction of the scale. Companies had invested millions of dollars into the hydraulic gold mining effort in California. These companies slowly folded and the miners and their families moved away to seek work elsewhere. North Bloomfield and the many towns born of hydraulic gold mining in the California gold fields slowly died.” Read more here.
Today, North Bloomfield serves as a site of historic interpretation, drawing those interested in the cultural and economic center it once was. Many buildings from North Bloomfield’s heyday line the streets, and visitors can even see hydraulic mining equipment. Tours are given daily. The community is kept alive by residents of some of the historic homes. Click the “plus” sign below to read more about the destructive force of the hydraulic monitors.