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Inventory of the North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Co. Records, 1890-1891
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Subject matter
  • Summary Report
  • Persons represented by 5 letters or more
  • Items of special interest
  • Bibliography

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Co. Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1890-1891
    Creator: North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Co.
    Extent: Number of pieces: 96
    Repository: The Huntington Library
    San Marino, California 91108
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Purchased from Talisman Press, Oct. 26, 1978


    Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information please go to following URL .

    Publication Rights

    In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Co. Records, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Subject matter

    Hydraulic mining in California

    Summary Report

    The North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Company was incorporated for a capital stock value of $800,000 in 1869 by a group of San Francisco capitalists including Lester L. Robinson and S. F. Butterworth on the San Juan Ridge in Nevada County, California to engage in hydraulic gold mining. At the height of hydraulic mining in Nevada County during the 1870s, the company, along the Eureka Lake and Yuba Canal Company of North San Juan and the Milton Mining and Water Company of French Corral, led in the development of hydraulic engineering. Hamilton Smith, a leading innovator in the field, served as superintendent of company operations from 1871 until 1881. The decision rendered by Judge Lorenzo Sawyer in Woodruff v. North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Co. (Jan. 7, 1884) radically restricted the scope of hydraulic mining in an effort to preserve agriculture in the Sacramento Valley from the destructive effects of river-borne debris. Hydraulic mining thereafter had to be conducted with an eye to preventing the escape of any residue into the rivers, as portions of this collection illustrate.
    The collection consists primarily of letters from Henry Pichoir, North Bloomfield's secretary, and Lester L. Robinson, its president, to William H. Radford and J. G. Mather, superintendents of company operations in the field, between January 3, 1890 and January 7, 1891. The letters deal mainly with the state of accounts kept by the superintendents, the physical condition of the company's ditches and flumes after storms, and the company's efforts to control the run-off from its operations. There are also occasional discussions of the company's relationship with other mining firms, including water leases and operating facilities.

    Persons represented by 5 letters or more

    Mooser, Joseph H.
    14 letters
    Pichoir, Henry
    68 letters
    Robinson, Lester Ludyah
    5 letters

    Items of special interest

    There are two letters from Lester Robinson to Superintendent Mather (
    Date: April 9, 1890-
    HM 51127 and
    Date: June 23, 1890-
    HM 51128) which discuss plans for water sampling and the construction of tunnels for water diversion to guard against run-off.


    Johnson, J. W. Early Engineering Center in California California Historical Society Quarterly, XXIX, 3, Sep. 1950