California State Historical Landmarks in Nevada County
Properties of historical importance in California are currently designated as significant resources in three state registration programs: State Historical Landmarks, Points of Historical Interest, and the California Register of Historic Places. Below is a list of the State Historical Landmarks for Nevada County. This data is provided by the Office of Historic Preservation - California Department of Parks and Recreation and is also available in the California Historical Landmarks Book.
NO. 1012 FIRST MANUFACTURING SITE OF THE PELTON WHEEL - The Pelton Water Wheel, first commercially manufactured here at George Allan's Foundry and Machine Works in 1879, was a major advancement in water power utilization and greatly advanced hard-rock mining. Its unique feature was a series of paired buckets, shaped like bowls of spoons and separated by a splitter, that divided the incoming water jets into two parts. By the late 1800s, the Pelton Wheels were providing energy to operate industrial machinery throughout the world. In 1888, Lester Pelton moved his business to San Francisco, but granted continuing manufacturing rights to Allan's Foundry, where the wheels were manufactured into the early 1900s.
Location: 325 Spring St, Nevada City
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: NEVADA CITY NO. 134 DONNER MONUMENT (or) PIONEER MONUMENT - Commemorates the ill-fated Donner party of California-bound emigrants, who wintered here in 1846-1847, many died of exposure and starvation.
Location: Donner Memorial State Park,Old Hwy 40 at I-80 and Truckee exit, Truckee
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: TRUCKEE NO. 247 THE WORLD'S FIRST LONG-DISTANCE TELEPHONE LINE - The first long-distance telephone in the world, built in 1877 by the Ridge Telephone Company, connected French Corral with French Lake, 58 miles away. It was operated by the Milton Mining Company from a building on this site that had been erected about 1853.
Location: On Pleasant Valley Rd, in center of community of French Corral NO. 292 HOME OF LOLA MONTEZ - Lola was born in Limerick, Ireland on July 3, 1818, as Marķa Dolores Eliza Rosanna Gilbert. After living in England and on the continent, Lola came to New York in 1851 and settled in Grass Valley in 1852. It was here she built the only home she ever owned and became friends with Lotta Crabtree, who lived up the street. Lola died January 17, 1861 and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, New York.
Location: 248 Mill St, Grass Valley
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: GRASS VALLEY NO. 293 HOME OF LOTTA CRABTREE - Lotta Crabtree was born in New York in 1847. In 1852-3 the gold fever brought her family to California. Several months after arriving in San Francisco, Mrs. Crabtree and Lotta went to Grass Valley and with Mr. Crabtree started a boarding house for miners. It was here that Lotta met Lola Montez, who taught her to sing and dance. In Scales, Plumas County, Lotta made her first public appearance, which led to a successful career on stage here and abroad.
Location: 238 Mill St, Grass Valley
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: GRASS VALLEY NO. 294 THE LITTLE TOWN OF ROUGH AND READY - Established in 1849 and named in honor of General Zachary Taylor, after the Rough and Ready Company of miners from Wisconsin, this was one of the principal towns of Nevada County. In 1850, articles of secession were drawn up establishing the 'Republic of Rough and Ready.' As a result of disastrous fires, only a few structures remain today that were built in the 1850s.
Location: NE corner of State Hwy 20 and Mountain Rose Rd, Rough and Ready NO. 297 SITE OF ONE OF THE FIRST DISCOVERIES OF QUARTZ GOLD IN CALIFORNIA - This tablet commemorates the discovery of gold-bearing quartz and the beginning of quartz mining in California. The discovery was made on Gold Hill by George Knight in October 1850. The occurrence of gold-bearing quartz was undoubtedly noted here and elsewhere about the same time or even earlier, but this discovery created the great excitement that started the development of quartz mining into a great industry. The Gold Hill Mine is credited with a total production of $4,000,000 between 1850 and 1857.
Location: SW corner of Jenkins St and Hocking Ave, Grass Valley NO. 298 EMPIRE MINE - The Empire Mine was originally located by George D. Roberts in October 1850. In the spring of 1854, the Empire Mining Company was incorporated and in 1865 new works, including a 30-stamp mill, were erected. In 1869 Wm. B. Bourn, Sr. purchased the Empire, when he died, Wm. B. Bourn, Jr. took over its management. The Empire was in constant operation from 1850 to the late 1950s.
Location: Empire Mine State Historic Park, 10791 Empire St, 1.2 mi E of Grass Valley
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: GRASS VALLEY NO. 390 BRIDGEPORT (NYES CROSSING) COVERED BRIDGE - Built in 1862 by David Isaac John Wood with lumber from his mill in Sierra County, this bridge was part of the Virginia Turnpike Company toll road which served the northern mines and the busy Nevada Comstock Lode. Utilizing a combination truss and arch construction, it is one of the oldest housed spans in the west and the longest single-span wood-covered bridge in the United States.
Location: W side of Pleasant Valley Rd at S Fork of the Yuba River 2.7 mi S of French Corral
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: FRENCH CORRAL NO. 628 ALPHA HYDRAULIC DIGGINGS - One mile north of here were the towns of Alpha and Omega, named by gold miners in the early 1850s. The tremendous hydraulic diggings, visible from near this point, engulfed most of the original townsites. Alpha was the birthplace of famed opera singer Emma Nevada. Mining at Omega continued until 1949, and lumbering operations are carried on there today (1958).
Location: Omega Rest Area, Hwy 20 (P.M. 35. 7), 6 mi E of Washington Rd, Washington NO. 629 OMEGA HYDRAULIC DIGGINGS AND TOWNSITE - One mile north of here were the towns of Alpha and Omega, named by gold miners in the early 1850s. The tremendous hydraulic diggings, visible from near this point, engulfed most of the original townsites. Alpha was the birthplace of famed opera singer Emma Nevada. Mining at Omega continued until 1949, and lumbering operations are carried on there today (1958).
Location: Omega Rest Area, Hwy 20 (P.M. 35. 7), 6 mi E of Washington Rd, Washington NO. 780-6 FIRST TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD-TRUCKEE - While construction on Sierra tunnels delayed Central Pacific, advance forces at Truckee began building 40 miles of track east and west of Truckee, moving supplies by wagon and sled, and Summit Tunnel was opened in December 1867. The line reached Truckee April 3, 1868, the Sierra was conquered. Rails reached Reno June 19, and construction advanced eastward toward the meeting with Union Pacific at the rate of one mile daily. On May 10, 1869, the rails met at Promontory (Utah) to complete the first transcontinental railroad.
Location: SP Depot, 70 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee NO. 799-3 OVERLAND EMIGRANT TRAIL - Over a hundred years ago, this trail resounded to creaking wheels of pioneer wagons and the cries of hardy travelers on their way to the gold fields. It is estimated that over thirty thousand people used this trail in 1849. About a mile and a quarter east of this site is Johnson's Crossing, the last stop on the Overland Emigrant Trail and first settlement west of the Sierra. It was used by pioneers, miners, trappers, herdsmen, and adventurers, rescuers of the Donner Party assembled here to begin their mission on February 5, 1847.
Location: On Spencerville Rd, 3.9 mi E of State Hwy 65, Wheatland NO. 832 SOUTH YUBA CANAL OFFICE - This was the headquarters for the largest network of water flumes and ditches in the state. The South Yuba Canal Water Company was the first incorporated to supply water for hydraulic mining. The original ditch was in use in May 1850, and this company office was in use from 1857 to 1880. The company's holdings later became part of the vast PG&E hydroelectric system.
Location: 134 Main St, Nevada City
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: NEVADA CITY NO. 843 NORTH STAR MINE POWERHOUSE - The North Star Powerhouse, built by A. D. Foote in 1895, was the first complete plant of its kind. Compressed air, generated by Pelton water wheels, furnished power for the entire mine operation. The 30-foot Pelton wheel was the largest in the world, and was in continuous use for over 30 years.
Location: Mining and Pelton Wheel Museum, S Mill at Allison Ranch Rd, Grass Valley
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: CHESTER 15 NO. 852 NORTH BLOOMFIELD MINING AND GRAVEL COMPANY - This was a major hydraulic gold-mining operation in California. It boasted a vast system of canals and flumes, its 7,800-foot drainage tunnel was termed a feat of engineering skill. It was the principal defendant in an anti-debris lawsuit settled in 1884 by Judge Lorenzo Sawyer's famous decision, which created control that virtually ended hydraulic mining in California.
Location: Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, 16 mi E of State Hwy 49 on Tyler Foote Crossing Rd, plaque located in park diggins overlook, 28 mi N of Nevada City NO. 855 MOUNT SAINT MARY'S CONVENT AND ACADEMY - Built by Reverend Thomas J. Dalton, the Sacred Heart Convent and Holy Angels Orphanage was dedicated May 2, 1865 by Bishop Eugene O'Connell. Under the Sisters of Mercy, it served from 1866 to 1932 as the first orphanage of the Northern Mines. It functioned as an academy from 1868 to 1965 and as a convent from 1866 to 1968.
Location: S Church St between Chapel and Dalton Sts, Grass Valley
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: GRASS VALLEY NO. 863 NEVADA THEATRE - California's oldest existing structure erected as a theater, the Nevada, opened September 9, 1865. Celebrities such as Mark Twain, Jack London, and Emma Nevada have appeared on its stage. Closed in 1957, the theatre was later purchased through public donations and reopened May 17, 1968 to again serve the cultural needs of the community.
Location: 401 Broad St, Nevada City
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: NEVADA CITY NO. 899 NATIONAL HOTEL - The National Exchange Hotel opened for business on August 20, 1856, the exterior is virtually unchanged since its construction as three brick buildings in 1856. The National is one of the oldest continuously operating hotels west of the Rockies.
Location: 211 Broad St, Nevada City
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: NEVADA CITY NO. 914 HOLBROOKE HOTEL - The hotel was built in 1862 around the Golden Gate Saloon, originally constructed in 1852 and the oldest continuously operating saloon in the Mother Lode region. The hotel's one-story fieldstone and brick construction is an outstanding example of mid-19th century Mother Lode masonry structures.
Location: 212 W Main St, Grass Valley
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: GRASS VALLEY
See Also: Statewide Historical Landmarks listed by County
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This file last modified on: Friday, October 15, 2004.
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