Miners working their way up from Grass Valley and Nevada City in 1851 discovered gold in a creek located just south of town. Soon over 100 miners settled in the area and worked the nearby river and creeks. The miners called that original creek “Humbug” after all the top loose, placer gold was “played out” then they moved on to richer claims. Before the miners left they knew that there was plenty of gold in the hills surrounding Humbug if only they had a means to get at it. Thus, with a little ingenuity, three miners working in nearby Nevada City figured it out and……
In 1853, hydraulic mining was invented just outside Nevada City. This new invention boosted North Bloomfield’s (formerly Humbug) population to approximately 1,200-1,500 people during its hey-day in the 1870s. Independent mining claims were purchased and consolidated in 1866 by the newly formed North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Company. Over 3.5 million dollars in gold was taken from the mountain during the company’s 44 year operation.
Thunder of Waters
They ripped and tore the gravel banks asunder
with powerful streams that rumbled like thunder.
A hundred hills were leveled by the blows
to smash millenniums of deep repose.
They crushed the face of nature in their lust
for gold, they reaped the shining dust.
They tore from gravel banks to ancient streams
to bring fulfillment to their gold-crazed dreams.
The havoc wrought displeased both God and man
and courts of law brought forth a mighty ban,
that stilled the giants, brought a calm surcease
to ancient hills that stood again in peace.
And God looked down upon the damaged sight
where man had gloried in his selfish might.
He planted tree and shrub for kindly shade
to heal the livid scars that man had made.
By Alvin Trivelpiece
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