Near North Columbia in Nevada County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
North Bloomﬁeld Drain Tunnel
This project was engineered by Hamilton Smith.
Eight vertical shafts of up to 200 feet in depth intersected in the long drain tunnel.
The project was started in April 1872 and took 30 months to complete.
Location. 39° 22.003′ N, 120° 55.305′ W. Marker is near North Columbia, California, in Nevada County. Marker is on North Bloomfield Road. Click for map. This marker is located in Malakoff Diggings State Historic Park on North Bloomfield Road about 1 mile Southwest of North Bloomfield. Marker is in this post office area: Nevada City CA 95959, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. North Bloomfield Mining and Gravel Company (approx. half a mile away); North Bloomfield School (approx. 0.9 miles away); St. Columncille's Church (approx. 0.9 miles away); Alvin Stevens Trivelpiece (approx. 1.1 miles away); Shoot (Chute) Hill (approx. 1.1 miles away); Malakoff Diggins Clampicnic Area Giant (approx. 1.2 miles away); Site of Lake City (approx. 1.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in North Columbia.
Regarding North Bloomfield Drain Tunnel. The Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park website tells of the two tunnels here near this marker site:
The Hiller Tunnel: The tunnel was built between 1851 and 1856. It was financed by Dr. Hillerscheidt and D. Albert. This original mining debris drainage tunnel was later purchased by North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Company and can still be seen today. If you plan to walk through this 557’ tunnel during the dry summer months, bring a flashlight and water shoes.
The North Bloomfield Tunnel: To handle the needs of more gravel tailings and water volume the miners decided to build a bigger tunnel. In 1872 W. Hamilton Smith designed and began construction on the 7,878 foot North Bloomfield Tunnel.
This drainage tunnel, built 200’ below the Hiller Tunnel, was constructed to drain away the huge volume of rocks, gravel and mud washing out of the mining pit. It took the miners only a year and half to complete the tunnel. It was considered an engineering marvel, utilizing two
The tunnel has long since filled in with water and debris. It is no longer navigable, but you will see the tops of some of the air shafts as you walk down Humbug Trail.
Also see . . . North Bloomfield Mining and Gravel Company - Wikipedia. (Submitted on June 22, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
1. Marker History
The wooden marker seen in Photo #3 was originally placed by the National Forest Service near the Tunnel. The marker was replaced by a bronze plaque on October 3, 1981 but was erroneously titled "Hiller Tunnel". It was later stolen by vandals. The current marker seen in Photo #1 was then placed at the trail leading to the site of the tunnel.
— Submitted June 24, 2011.
Additional keywords. California Gold Rush, Hydraulic Mining
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Man-Made Features •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 941 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. 3. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. 4. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. 5. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.