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January 15, 2013
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Miners Foundry seeks donors to help fund upgrades to floor

For the past year, the Miners Foundry Cultural Center has raised funds for a new wooden floor in the Osborn/Woods Hall, one of the building’s two great halls.

With the help and support of private donors, businesses, Nevada City, Nevada County and the Nevada City Chamber Commerce, 70 percent of the total amount needed has been raised.

Only three weeks remain before ground is broken on Jan. 28 and the Miners Foundry is reaching out to make the facility improvement a reality for the community to use and enjoy for generations to come.

“A wooden dance floor will allow the foundry to produce swing, ballroom, salsa and blues dance events without making excuses about dancing on cement,” said Paul Emery, a local promoter who has produced music and theatrical events at the Miners Foundry.

“It’s a big step in the improvement of the Miners Foundry.”

Located in the heart of downtown Nevada City, the Miners Foundry is a California Registered Historic Landmark. The building retains the character of the Gold Rush days with its rough-hewn beams, iron doors and antique fixtures and furnishings.

From its earliest days as a machine shop that spawned modern marvels — such as the Pelton Wheel that revolutionized hydroelectricity and the fabrication of steel that was used in the Liberty Ships of World War II — to its current use as a cultural arts and community center, the Miners Foundry continues to play an integral role in the story of Nevada County, and ourselves, the foundry’s organizers note.

“Charles Woods and David Osborn had a magnificent and brilliant vision which they made a reality; to create a cultural center for Nevada County from the ruins of a once bustling but ultimately derelict industrial building which once served the mines,” said Paul Matson, board member of the Miners Foundry. “Today what was then the American Victorian Museum is alive and well while actively fulfilling that original mission, in what is now known as the Miners Foundry.”

In 2009, the Miners Foundry brought together community members, organizers and leaders for a strategic planning session. During the meeting the floor in the Osborn/Woods Hall, along with a new sound system, stage, curtains and kitchen, were all identified as areas that need improvement. Since then, these areas with the exception of the floor have been updated.

A new floor would beautify the hall by lightening the room and improving acoustics, the foundry’s organizers note. It would attract more music events that involve dancing. It would also provide an elegant space for dinner dances, night-club-style events and dinner theatre.

Rental business for daytime uses such as exercise, yoga and dance classes could expand dramatically if the floor is replaced.

Last year, the Miners Foundry hosted more 400 events and nearly 50,000 people, local and out-of-town, visited to either attend a rock concert, theatrical production or reading, nonprofit or school fundraiser, private party, wedding, or just to admire the historic mining relics and the Foundry’s famous stone walls, according to foundry’s organizers.

Young’s Carpet One has been selected as the contractor for the job. The scope of the floor project includes sealing and leveling the existing concrete floor, and then installing a premium hardwood floor.

Donors of a certain level will have their name or the name of their choice permanently imprinted on the new wood floor.

“Like many nonprofit arts venues, only 40 percent of the buildings operating costs are covered through rental income,” said Gretchen Bond, the foundry’s executive director. “The remainder comes from foundry-presented events, annual memberships, fundraising events, grants and donations. Individuals and businesses that choose to support the foundry make an enormous difference and insure the legacy of this great building.”

Donations of any amount are welcome, noted the foundry’s organizers. There is a deadline of Jan. 26 for those who donate $1,000 or more to have the name of their choice imprinted on the floor.

To make a tax-deductible donation, visit or call (530) 265-5040. Donations may also be mailed to Miners Foundry, Attn: Osborn/Woods Hall Floor, 325 Spring St., Nevada City, CA, 95959. For questions or additional information, contact Bond at (530) 265-5040 or

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The Union Updated Jan 16, 2013 01:45AM Published Jan 16, 2013 06:00PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.