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Image of two story wood frame building in French Corral
 

Dating from the 1850s, this building was used as a schoolhouse and community hall. We created this image in 1975. We liked the contrast and light on the building but the lower front wall was covered with “No Trespassing” signs which prompted the unusual cropping.

Rich placer deposits were discovered in the French Corral area around 1851 or 1852 but the gold deposits there were scattered haphazardly along an ancient river channel which made placer mining methods used by the early miners such as panning or sluicing ineffective. By the late 1850s French Corral was one of many hydraulic mining camps located on a ridge that runs between the South and Middle forks of the Yuba River. Hydraulic mining made it possible to access the gold deposits in the region profitably and several companies had mining claims in the area. One of the larger hydraulic mining companies in Nevada County, the Milton Mining and Water Company, had its offices in French Corral. In 1878 Milton Mining along with the other two large hydraulic mining companies in Nevada County, the Eureka Lake and Yuba Canal Company and the North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Company cooperatively built the world’s first long-distance telephone line. The line was 60 miles long and ran up the ridge from French Corral to Bowman Lake. The telephone line was used to effectively manage the ditches and flumes along the ridge which supplied water for all three companies hydraulic mines. Large scale hydraulic mining continued in the area until the 1884 hydraulic mining prohibition established by the Sawyer decision.

Of related interest is are images of a flume and Malakoff Diggins in the Gallery .

Link to Wikipedia page on French Corral.


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