Plumas Eureka State Park, Plumas County, Northeastern California.
Interstate 80, exit Truckee, north on Highway 89 to Graeagle, turn left on Country Road A-14 (Johnsville Road) 8 km to the park.
Museum: Day Weekend to Labor Day daily 9-17.
Museum: Adults USD 2, Children free, parking USD 3.
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
|Address:||Eureka Tunnel, Plumas-Eureka State Park,|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1848||first gold discovered at Sutter's sawmill on the American River.|
|1851||first prospectors in this area, discovered an exposed quartz ledge, rich with gold.|
|1853||Jamison City sprang up as a tent city.|
|1873||Eureka Mills founded.|
|1887||Jamison Mine started.|
|1919||Jamison Mine closed.|
|1943||last mine closed.|
|1959||Plumas-Eureka State Park established.|
Many early gold mines in the 19th century gold fields in California and Alaska were placer mines. The erosion removed the rock and concentrated the gold in so-called placers.
This site is locally called a hard rock gold mine, which means it was necessary to mine the hard rock to find the gold. This is where the gold found in lower areas originates from, the so-called mother lode. And while such places are the source of the gold, the hard rock mining has various drawbacks. It is necessary to mine the rock, build tunels and shafts, and often the amount of gold in the veins does not pay for the hard work.
During some 90 years of operation some 100 km of tunnels were cut into Eureka Peak. The mines produced some $25 million in gold.
Eureka Tunnel is one of the original mine entrances of abandned Plumas Eureka Mine. It is open and so visitors may enter the tunnel and go a short way into the tunnel to experience the work day of a hard rock miner. The Visitor Center, Park headquarters, and Park museum is located in a historic miner's boarding house at the entrance to the park. The museum is a very good place to start the visit, as it gives a fine introduction into the Park features. There are natural history exhibits, archeological finds, and mining artifacts. A working model of the stamp mill of Plumas Eureka Mine in scale 1:24 and several hands-on exhibits are great for children.
The self guided tour through the mining remains starts opposite the museum. There is the Blacksmith Shop, the Assay Office, the Livery Stable and the Mohawk Stamp Mill. The Moriarity House is a historic home of one of the miners. It dates from the mid 19th century and shows the typical living conditions of the miners more than 100 years ago. The tiny wooden building with only four rooms was home to a family of ten. The house may only be visited on guided tours, which accommodate only eight persons at a time. It is essential to sign up at the museum as early as possible. The tours are available during the Summer months only.
The mining started with virtually hundreds of small claims by prospectors. Nearby Jamison City sprang up as a tent city in 1853, but soon wooden buildings were erected. Six of the twelve buildings were saloons for the miners. Soon the claims were united to form mining companies, first the Eureka Company which consisted of 36 mines. The Washington Company was better known as the Seventy-Six as it was formed by 76 claimants. The Rough-and-Ready (40 mines) and the Mammoth (80 mines) followed. In 1872 Johnsville was founded, and one year later Eureka Mills on the slopes of Eureka Peak. They were much less wild, small communities with miners cottages and businesses.
In the early day ownership changes were frequent. This ended when Sierra Buttes Mining Company, Ltd., a British company, stepped in. They consolidated all of the mines in this vicinity and introduced improved mining technology.