Empire Mine’s seasonal tours about to start | TheUnion.com

Empire Mine’s seasonal tours about to start

Tours at Empire Mine State Historic Park are set to begin soon on a daily basis with more available on Saturdays and Sundays.
Submitted photo by Richard Bannister

Empire Mine’s 2018 Spring and Summer Tour Season starts soon with garden tours, living history tours of Empire Cottage and the clubhouse, plus extended access to the mine yard, according to a release.

Open daily

Public tours of the estate and mine yard are presented Monday through Friday, starting May 1.

Visitors are offered estate tours at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., with mine yard tours at noon and 2 p.m. On weekends, mine yard tours are scheduled at noon and 1 p.m. through Sept. 3.

The estate tour includes both Empire Cottage and the clubhouse, and focuses on the Bourns, the Starrs, and their impact on Northern California’s history. The mine yard tour highlights the story of hard rock mining, as well as the underground work that began the process of turning ore into gold bars.

Each tour takes around 50 minutes.

The blacksmith shop, with working blacksmiths, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but closes early when the outside temperature reaches 90 degrees.

Seasonal and weekends

Popular guided garden tours take place every Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. through Sept. 30.

Visitors will learn about the history and heritage, plus the care that goes into maintaining them. There won’t be garden tours on Mother’s Day (May 13) or on Miners Picnic (Aug. 25). There is no extra charge, and each tour runs approximately 50 minutes.

Empire Cottage living history tours are offered each Saturday and Sunday, starting May 5 through Sept. 2, from noon to 2:20 p.m. They start every 20 minutes and last an hour.

For those 17 and over, there is an additional $2 charge (no extra charge for children under 17). Docents in Edwardian-style attire bring history to life, as they portray the characters who colored the past with gold and prosperity.

Mr. and Mrs. William Bourn, Jr., George and Libby Starr, and outspoken housekeeper Katie Moriarty will answer questions and share their insights about Empire’s glory days. There won’t be any living history tours on Mother’s Day (May 13) or on Miners Picnic (Aug. 25).

Clubhouse history tours begin each Saturday and Sunday from May 5 to Sept. 2 at no extra charge.

Short, approximately 10-minute tours are available from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Docents in early 1900s’ costumes guide you.

Originally a gentlemen’s club, here’s where Bourn and Starr entertained mining owners and managers from around the world. No clubhouse tours on July 14 of 15, or on Aug. 25. Tours are subject to volunteer availability,

Mine yard living history occurs on special days when visitors have access to buildings not typically open to the public, at no extra charge. The Hoist House, the Compressor House, wood shop, refinery, and the mine manager’s office will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 13, June 9, Aug. 25, Sept. 22, as well as Nov. 23-24 (both days of Holidays at Empire Mine).

Park hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, (closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day). Admission is $7 for 17 and over; $3 for ages 6-16; and admission is free for children under 6. Parking is free, and well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome.

For more information, call 530-273-8522 or visit http://www.empiremine.org. Empire Mine State Historic Park is located at 10791 E. Empire St., Grass Valley.

Source: Empire Mine Park Association

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