The story of Malakoff Diggins SHP encompasses the experiences and voices of a variety of cultures from its first Native American inhabitants to its development and current use as a California State Park. Although the park is primarily associated with its gold-mining past, it also has a rich prehistory, European contact history, and effects of gold mining on Native populations.
Following the Gold Rush of 1849, gold miners pored over the streams and river banks, searching for gold, but most hopeful placer miners moved on as the supply of easy gold was soon exhausted.
A few miners stayed in the area and developed a mining camp, and eventually discovered gold-bearing gravel deposits in ancient riverbeds. Numerous engineering innovations were created in the quest for gold. Technological advances and successful extractions drew more miners and support businesses catering to the needs of the miners.
In addition to the town of North Bloomfield, three smaller towns (all located in what is now the park) flourished by the late 1850’s–Lake City, Derbec, and Malakoff.
Recent study has found that the influence of French-speaking pioneers at Malakoff Diggins was widespread. Entrepreneurs designed massive water systems and hydraulic ventures, opened hotels and businesses and planted gardens. They dominated the local scene at the Park for 15 years, laying the groundwork for the North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Company, which was called the French Company for many years. Click here to see (or download) the full report.