Research Findings & Interpretive Panels to be Unveiled
On Saturday, September 9, 2017, from 11 am-4 pm, Friends of North Bloomfield & Malakoff Diggins and California State Parks will jointly commemorate the French heritage of the park, and unveil two new interpretive panels that are the result of recent research into its French and French Canadian pioneers.
162 years ago, the French army toppled the impenetrable Malakoff Tower, thereby ending a 10-month siege by French and English forces upon the Russian naval port of Sebastopol. French people all over the world celebrated France’s victory in the Crimean War. A mock Malakoff tower was created in the streets of San Francisco, and French miners drawn to the Sierra during the Gold Rush gave the name to their claims. Hundreds of thousands of French-speaking immigrants were lured to California to participate in what has been called the greatest migration in history. The famous Malakoff Mine is testimony to their presence.
Recent study has found that their influence at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park 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 to the nation’s biggest hydraulic operation of the day, the North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Company, which was commonly called the French Company for years. The Malakoff Mine became so large that it was the defendant in the famous federal lawsuit that handed down the Sawyer Decision, the renowned injunction against the laissez-faire practice of polluting waterways.
The Malakoff’s French Connection Festival will commemorate these early French pioneers responsible for much of the early technological and cultural developments at the Park. It will be a festive, lively gathering open to the public with French themed music and dancing, food, wine and beer, games, tours and hikes.
We will unveil newly installed interpretive panels, welcome dignitaries from near and far, and premier an original marionette show explaining the origin of the name Malakoff. World and fusion quartet, Beaucoup Chapeaux, will provide the music. A raffle will be held featuring a grand prize of a week’s lodging in the French Riviera.
Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park is located 26 miles northeast of Nevada City, nestled in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Within the Park’s roughly 3,200 acres of forested hills, lakes, dramatic cliffs, and historic buildings lies the exciting and significant story of the nation’s largest hydraulic gold mining operation and the nation’s first environmental regulation.
Visitors are awed and humbled by the dramatic, multi-colored cliffs of the Park’s main attraction–the remains of a hydraulic mine–a massive, man-made pit carved into the landscape by giant water cannons. The Park was created in 1965 in order to preserve this important part of California’s gold mining history.
Today the Park is often characterized as a place of peace, quiet, and solitude, an ironically drastic shift from the destruction and devastation that created it. Popular activities include historic town tours, hikes through scenic diggings, mountain biking, camping, fishing, and photography.
For more information on Malakoff’s French Connection event go to www.malakoffdigginsstatepark.org
Friends of North Bloomfield & Malakoff Diggins Mission Statement: We enhance the interpretive experience for visitors, promote park-based education for learners of all ages, and support and preserve the natural and cultural resources of Malakoff Diggins SHP.
We also assist other cooperative associations and the State Park System mission for the benefit of the public. Read: Historical Information – French Settlers & Village of Malakoff