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Malakoff Diggins 
State Historical Park
Gold Rush History

The town of North Bloomfield

Don't you like reading those titles that finish with largest in the world, or biggest in the world!?

Malakoff is another one of these.
And it is very much worth a visit.  

If you head up to this forested 3,000 acre park from Tyler-Foote Rd, you might want to plan your visit for when the town is open.  And you might even want to check the yearly schedule on the towns website for when any special events are taking place. It would be a thrill to gain access to buildings that might otherwise be closed.  The park headquarters does ask for $5 to visit the park, although maybe if you wear camouflage, they won't notice you.

North Bloomfield is a well preserved mining town with numerous buildings along the main street.  What is unique about it in this part of California is much like Bodie- the town is more of a living museum than a tourist suckage zone.  While towns from Downieville down south through Sonora are preserved active towns, North Bloomfield is staid.  After you and I are gone- this town'll still be quietly just there.

Peering into a bygone era

As many as 1,500 people lived here during the heyday of the diggins lasting from the 1850's to 1884.  Not only did the town serve as a residence for the miners, but it was the origin of all the supplies needed to extract the gold from the nearby hillside.  Giant monitors were built (no, not the lizard) and even a giant sewing machine in the museum was used to create the large hoses needed to bring water to the monitors.

North Bloomfield feels stretched out and not as claustaphobic as other gold rush towns.  (And no, there aren't any antique shops.)  This might be from some of the buildings not surviving however.  

Several of the tiny buildings have been restored to resemble a day from the 1870's.  The drug store shelves are still lined with rows of mysterious elixirs.  The general store is still stocked plumb-full of goods.  And one of the restored homes is outfitted to resemble the every day happenings of the late 1800's.  

Inside the North Bloomfield Museum
North Bloomfield Museum

Looking inside at the Drug Store
The Drug Store

You can peer through the windows or time your arrival to be in summer when an expertly lead docent tour, every day at 1:30 pm during the summer, will actually take you inside the buildings for a closer look.  During the winter, the town is open on weekends.

Behind all the buildings to the south is Humbug Creek.  A popular axiom back then when the easy pickins' gold quickly ran out. The creek today is still panned for gold.  Although it is usually by children who've checked out a free gold pan from the park headquarters.  Many still find tiny amounts of gold dust.  

North Bloomfield Cemetary

A short path over a creek at the west edge of town leads over to the town church, cemetery and the massive one room school house.  The cemetery is rather large, well preserved and lies underneath massive trees.  Pine cones dot the ground amongst the headstones.  Take a moment to read some of the inscriptions and dates on the headstones.  Entire families were laid to rest here, sometimes at unlikely intervals.  Tiny headstones for infants and small children also dot the cemetery.

Nearby the cemetery is the St. Columncille's Catholic Church dating back to 1860.  It was originally built near French Corral and known not as a church, but as the Bridgeport Union Guard Hall.  During the Civil War, the facility was used to train men headed off to war.  After the war ended, the building was discovered by area Catholics and converted to a church.  That building was relocated to the present day location.

A short distance away is Malakoff Diggins.  

During early June, the park has their annual Humbug Days.  Plenty of food, music, historic characters in period dress, and even a parade fill the docket for the day.  In 2000, the celebration was held on June 11 so get with the parks website to confirm the exact date. 

Above North Bloomfield is a 30 site campground that also has 4 small cabins.  The cabins are reservable year round. At peak times, you might want to reserve your site before towing up your camper behind the Goldwing.

The best way to get out of the park is back down Tyler-Foote Rd. to Hwy 49.

Gravestone of Edina Lynn Crandall, "aged 2 yrs, 3 months, 2 days"
2 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days

Nearby Motorcycle Roads:

Be sure and ride Yuba Pass - Highway 49.  If you are headed due north, you can connect up with Oregon Hill Road to La Porte Road which is the latest motorcycle mecca with fresh brand new pavement on up to Quincy. 

The longest single span covered bridge is nearby in Bridgeport via Pleasant Valley Road.

In Grass Valley is Empire Mine. Southward outside of Auburn is Foresthill Road which runs up to Mosquito Ridge.

Malakoff Diggins SHP
23579 North Bloomfield Road
Nevada City CA 95959
(530) 265-2740