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North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Co. Records: Finding Aid
mssHM 51035-51130  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Historical Note
  • Bibliography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Co. Records
    Dates (inclusive): 1890-1891
    Collection Number: mssHM 51035-51130
    Creator: North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Company.
    Extent: 96 pieces in 1 box
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2129
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection consists primarily of letters from the secretary to the president of the North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Company of Nevada County, California, in 1890-1891 related to the company and hydraulic mining.
    Language: English.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

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


    Purchased from Talisman Press, October 26, 1978.

    Historical Note

    The North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Company was a company that pioneered in the development of hydraulic mining for gold in Nevada County, California, during the 1870s. Subsequent restrictions on hydraulic mining operations forced the company to adopt new procedures to protect downstream agriculturalists from the effects of water-borne mining debris.
    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. (January 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.


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

    Scope and Content

    This 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: Joseph H. Mooser (14 letters); Henry Pichoir (68 letters); and Lester Ludyah Robinson (5 letters).
    Notable items include two letters from Lester Robinson to Superintendent Mather, April 9, 1890 (HM 51127) and June 23, 1890 (HM 51128), which discuss plans for water sampling and the construction of tunnels for water diversion to guard against run-off.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


    North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Company -- Archives.
    Hydraulic mining -- California, Northern -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
    Mines and mineral resources -- California -- Nevada County
    Nevada County (Calif.) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources


    Letters (correspondence) California, Northern 19th century.