PLUMAS EUREKA STATE PARK
Plumas-Eureka State Park was established in 1959, and provides visitors with a glimpse into a fascinating period of California history, as well as opportunities for quiet recreation in a beautiful high Sierra mountain setting.
The focal point of the park is the museum building and historic area surrounding it. Originally constructed as the miner's bunkhouse, the museum now serves as a visitor center. Inside, displays depict the natural and cultural history of the park. Outside and across the street from the museum is the historic mining area, where the Mohawk Stamp Mill, Bushman five-stamp mill, stable, mine office, Moriarity House (historic miner?s residence) and the blacksmith shop depict life in gold rush-era California.
During the summer, tours of the buildings and blacksmithing demonstrations are conducted by docents and park staff. Visitors can also enjoy fishing, nature study and hiking within the park.
The event that resulted in a community and later became the key reason for establishing the park was the discovery of gold on the east side of Eureka Peak, (then known as Gold Mountain) by a group of 9 miners on May 23, 1851. What started out as an individual discovery eventually led to 62 miles of shafts with several individual operators and companies.
British mining experts perfected the method of removing the rich ore from within the mountain. At one point, three stamp mills were in operation at various locations on the mountainside, but in time, the ore-crushing operation was concentrated at one mill, the Mohawk. Built in 1876 at a cost of approximately $50,000 the Mohawk contained 60 stamps, each weighing from 600 to 950 pounds with a drop of 8 1/2 inches - 80 times per minute. Each stamp could crush 2 1/2 tons of ore (a small dump truckload) every 24 hours.
Ore was brought from shafts higher up on the mountain by the means of two gravity-powered tramways. Returning ore buckets sometimes carried miners up the mountain and in the winter, served as possibly the first ski lift in California. When mining in the area ceased for good in the 1940's, over 8 million dollars worth of gold had been removed from Gold Mountain