The other day, as I was walking in front of the Maiden Lane shop on Broad Street in Nevada City’s historic downtown, I noticed a metal plaque had been stamped “Nevada Foundry Cal.”
This, like many other iron fixtures and artifacts, was made in our local Miners Foundry in Nevada City.
I then started to think about how many other things are out there that were forged in our beloved foundry (now a cultural center).
There are probably many mining and non-mining artifacts throughout the county (and beyond) that were manufactured here. Some are clearly marked and others are not.
Almost every day we drive or walk by a stamp mill, water monitor or ore cart that may have been manufactured at the Miners Foundry. Many of us see artifacts and don’t know what they are or where they came from.
One of the missions of the Miners Foundry Cultural Center is to preserve the history and artifacts of the Miners Foundry. In an effort to identify and catalog these historically valuable items, the Miners Foundry Historical Committee needs your help.
The Committee is interested in compiling a list (with locations) of various artifacts manufactured by the Miners Foundry. This information would be used by historians, tourists, local residents and school children.
The location of the items on the list would be made public only with the approval of the caretaker of the artifact; otherwise, it would be used for historical record-keeping only.
It is our desire to have a map of the area indicating the location of any artifacts.
The map would contain only the locations of artifacts that can be viewed by the public.
The wishes of any private caretakers who would like their artifacts to remain unseen by the public would be honored.
If you know of the location of any mining artifacts, please e-mail the Miners Foundry Historical Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message for me, Ken Strangfeld, Historical Committee chairman, at 265-5040.
Please describe the artifact and its location and, if possible, send us a picture of the historical item.
Pictures will not be returned, so please e-mail or send the Historical Committee a copy of the picture.
Editor’s note: The Miners Foundry started as a machine shop and blacksmith forge in 1855 to repair local equipment made in San Francisco and Sacramento, according to foundry historians.
Metalworkers at the foundry began making mining equipment and other needed goods, including the famous Pelton Wheel in 1879, an invention which revolutionized the use of hydroelectric power in gold mining.
It became the American Victorian Museum in 1974, a winery in 1989 and a cultural center in 1990.
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