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Thursday, August 5, 2010

A true treasure: Empire Mine, Grass Valley CA

And the adventure continues. When we were out and about on Monday , after seeing Nevada City, we went to The Empire Mine. Here is what the web site has to say : "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.This 5.8 million ounces of gold would fill a box 7 feet on each side. It is estimated that this represented only 20% of the available gold...80% remains. The Park contains many of the original mine buildings, the owners cottage and the restored gardens and grounds as well as the entrance to 367 miles (the equivalent of a round trip from Grass Valley to San Jose) of abandoned and flooded shafts and tunnels. The park consists of 845 acres of forested back country and 12 miles of trails for hikers, bikers and horseback riders."

After a sharp right off Hwy 49 onto Empire Rd. , passing right by this artifact left over from a time well passed....

 we pulled into a nice size , shaded parking lot , nestled amongst large pines and other various trees, and we made our way to the main building of the state park, peeking over the stone wall and stopping to take a picture of one of the buildings in the parking lot, that looked to be where at one time gold was bought.
After paying our fee of 5.00 each ( well worth it, and for 2.00 more per person you can get a guided tour!) , we made our way through the inside building, taking time to read all the plaques, look at photos, see scale models and a wonderful selection of mined gem stones from all over the world and well beyond , as there was small bits from Mars and the Moon!! I did not take too many pics inside, as the glare on the glass was not helping...but here is a few....
 Then , we headed out through the gift shop and went to explore the grounds.....we were amazed at the beauty, tranquility and lushness that welcomed us as we opened the door and began our tour....
This was a view from a front porch that once belonged to a cottage that was burned down..   The view from the main club house, where guests , even  President Hubert Hoover was entertained.... there was garden paths ...... Places to sit and rest..... Trails that beckoned to be explored.... Old shaft entrances.....Here is a close up of the main club house, we hope to go for an inside tour one day, it is beautiful inside from what we could see!
There was so much to take in , and we explored all the paths, and went back to the places that we wanted to take a second could spend all day just in this area alone and be perfectly happy! I hear in early to mid spring, the gardens are spectacular ! But soon it was time to go to the mining side.... Here is just a sampling of what we saw...there are buildings to explore, things to read about, and rooms to peek into the past , but if I were to share all the pictures we would be here for days!!

Offices....the map room .....Buildings with large mining equipment were all over ......There was even a working blacksmith workshop where we got a demo and a brief history of the black smithing that would go on as well as products made there for sale....Then there was the actual mine shaft that you could go part of the way down and peer down at what seemed like an endless tunnel......And the stairs that are still used today to walk down to the bottom!
 So that was our tour of The Empire Mine...if you are ever in Grass Valley, CA. I really suggest you go and explore this wonderful peek into California's mining history....till tomorrow's post about the continuing adventure.....bye for now....


  1. Beautiful gardens! Looks like a really cool place!

  2. So, how much gold did you walk away with?... looking forward to the next volley of pictures...

    Twitter: SolarChief


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