Item #7362 [Hydraulic mining in French Corral, Nevada County, California]. Thomas Houseworth, photog Co.

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[Thomas Houseworth & Co., photog.]

[Hydraulic mining in French Corral, Nevada County, California].

[N.p., ca. 1870]. Stereoview on orange mount. CONDITION: Very good, light wear and minor soiling to edges, photos clean with rich tonality.

A fine Houseworth stereoview showing three hydraulic miners at work in Nevada County, California.

The French Corral District is located in northwest Nevada County some nine miles northwest of Nevada City. The mining camp of French Corral was the first of many camps to be created along San Juan Ridge. The town was named for a mule corral erected in 1849 by a Frenchman, who was the first settler in the area. The main period of gold mining took place from the mid-1850s to the 1890s, and extensive hydraulic mining operations were implemented from early on. Sometime before 1867, a 7 carat diamond was found there in a sluice box—the largest known to have come from California. In A Golden State, James Rawls calls this image “‘Piping the bank’ near the community of French Corral, hard by the South Fork of the Yuba River in the richest of all the hydraulic mining districts of California.” Although lacking a credit this image is known to have been created by Houseworth & Co. as identified by the University of California.

Thomas Houseworth (1828–1915) and George S. Lawrence came to the west as gold miners in 1849, eventually establishing a photography business that hired local photographers. The business moved to Montgomery Street in 1868. Houseworth assumed complete ownership when Lawrence retired in 1869, changing the firm’s name to Thomas Houseworth and Co.

REFERENCES: Rawls, James J., editor. A Golden State: Mining and Economic Development in Gold Rush California (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999), p. 133; “French Corral Mining District, Nevada Co., California, USA” at mindat online (Hudson Institute of Mineralogy); “Hydraulic mining near French Corral. Piping the Bank, (near view.) Nevada County” at Calisphere online (University of California.)

Item #7362

Price: $250.00

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