The Empire Mine...

Continuing with our desire to learn more about the incredible California Gold Rush history, we embarked on a road trip to Grass Valley (a 200 mile round trip journey through some amazing countryside).

The Empire Mine is the site of the oldest, largest, and richest gold mine in California. From 1850 to its closing in 1956, it produced 5.8 million ounces of gold.

It is estimated that only 20% of the available gold has been removed.

The Park contains many of the original mine buildings... well as the entrance to 367 miles of abandoned and flooded shafts and tunnels.
... and the owners' cottage. After learning about mining, we decided we needed to know more about the residents so we joined a Living History tour inside the Bourn Cottage. Volunteers in period dress, recreated characters from the Empire's colorful past. This two story country home of William Bourn, Jr., styled after the noble estates of nineteenth century England, was built in the late 1890s. The architecture is distinguished by a remarkable redwood interior, leaded glass windows and massive granite walls (to lessen the rumble from the non-stop stamping mills).
We delighted in meeting "Agnes Moody and her husband, William Bowers Bourn II'.
The Empire Mine grounds, which became a showplace in the mining world, included extensive lawns with fountains, a reflection pool and gardens with a greenhouse.These features are all now incorporated into the Empire Mine State Historic Park so we ended our history lesson in the garden full of bloom.

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Jenny Anderson-Sweatt said...

When Bob was teaching high school, we would take his photo class on a field trip here during peak fall colors. A beautiful time for photography. Did you drive through Nevada City too? Also, did you learn about the Cornish miners and the Cornish Pastie that they packed for lunch? A family tradition passed down from my grandma. A "must" lunch snack when visiting Grass Valley.

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