facebook tracking pixel A walk through history: Historic Cemetery Tour with Chris Ward at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park in Nevada City | TheUnion.com

A walk through history: Historic Cemetery Tour with Chris Ward at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park in Nevada City

Submitted to Prospector
Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park is hoping to ignite interest and support for their wide varitey of resources at the park by starting a new series of cemetary tours. The tours will feature stories on French pioneers and the history of the hydraulic mines.
Submitted photo to Prospector |


WHAT: Discover Malakoff, Historic Cemetery Tour

WHEN: 1:30-3:30 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, 23579 North Bloomfield Road, Nevada City

COST: Free for tour; $5 day-use parking fee, using self-registration envelopes. Pre-registration requested.

INFO: Visit https://discovermalakoffcemeterytour.eventbrite.com for more information

The Friends of North Bloomfield & Malakoff Diggins, in cooperation with the Sierra Gold Sector of California State Parks, have initiated a brand new series of events and activities at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park.

The intent of this series is to bring new visitors to the remote state park throughout the entire year, and to ignite interest and support for the wide spectrum of resources and activities at the historic park, home to the still-standing “ghost town” of North Bloomfield, and site of the largest hydraulic mine in the country.

The series is still in its developmental stages, even as we are going forward with our first events. We intend to establish Second Saturdays as our standard monthly schedule; however, some variation will occur, as we accommodate and coordinate with other schedules (for example, the very popular First Day Hike we held on Jan. 1), and adjust for inclement weather.

The March event, led by local author Chris Ward, will feature a monument-by-monument tour, featuring stories about French pioneers and snippets of history from the era when the hydraulic monitors were blasting, and the town was an active center of commerce and innovation.

The cemetery tour is free, limited to the first 25 participants, and requires pre-registration via Eventbrite, to assure that we don’t exceed the carrying capacity of the site.

Free registration link: https://discovermalakoffcemeterytour.eventbrite.com

Please do RSVP, and update, if plans change. We will maintain a wait list.

Cemetery tour description

Interested guests will join Chris Ward, author of “Cemeteries of the Western Sierra,” as he guides us through the historic North Bloomfield cemetery, regaling us with stories and snippets of history extracted from the headstones and markers remaining in the still-operating cemetery. Established in the mid-1800s, this plot of land is dedicated to the enduring stories and memories surrounding the early settlement of this hub of exploration and innovation.

“Cemeteries are more than final resting places for the dead; they are gateways to an area’s shared history. Every hand-carved granite or marble monument, every faded wooden marker, holds a clue,” Ward said. “Western Sierra populations boomed with the discovery of gold and often dwindled as gold fever waned. Cemeteries of the Western Sierra uses the lens of the cemetery to glimpse a rich and disappearing history.

“Displaced indigenous populations, miners, dueling newspaper magnates, Chinese pioneers: all are part of the mosaic of history represented in a historical cemetery. From solitary graves in the forest to almost forgotten graveyards near the center of a town, cemeteries tell a story not just of who may have died but also of who lived and what was meaningful in their time.”

Ward is an archaeological specialist and a contributor to numerous investigatory research projects throughout California. He is a member of multiple organizations dedicated to the conservation of California’s heritage, including the Society of California Archaeology and multiple regional and county preservation groups.

He has spent hundreds of hours with historians, community members, and in the historical cemeteries, historical libraries, and archives photographing and compiling research for this book. He lives and works from Penn Valley.


See more

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.