Nevada County is home to some of the earliest placer mining, such as hydraulic mining and deep quartz mining. Today, the placers are all but worked out, hydraulic mining was virtually forbidden in 1884 and the last of the deep quartz mines closed down in 1959. With gold advancing from $34 per ounce to over $400 per ounce, a number of small mines are now in operation.
The equipment of the mines was sold or vanished in other ways. But for the efforts of some far-seeing citizens, such as Arthur Dowdell, former assayer of the Empire mine, only the foundations of former buildings from the mines or the immense chasms, left by the hydraulic operations, would remind one of the former great industries of Nevada County.
Arthur Dowdell collected a large number of objects relating to gold mining, which he presented to the Nevada County Historical Society in 1968. These objects formed the nucleus of the first Nevada County Mining Museum, which was opened on Mill Street, Grass Valley in that year.
Open Tue-Sun 11-5 (May 1-Oct 31)
Winter: closed (Nov 1-Apr 30)