We just returned from North Bloomfield, and I can't express the excitement bottled up inside my chest. We walked every inch of the town and I learned more than I could have imagined. I've been there before, but its memory has dulled in my mind. Now it seems alive and vivid.
I can still see the little winding, forested road that leads into town; slightly inclined. I can see the small Victorian style homes coming into view, and finally the park museum. Opposite the museum, I can see the large grassy lawn and the Skidmoore house with all its historic beauty. I can see the McKillican and Mobley general store and the drug store,barber shop and the King's saloon across from that. The volunteer fire house too! Right next to the drug store with the foundation of the skidmore saloon in between!
And the little road that leads down to Humbug creek... That stands out in my mind's eye. Ian takes Sonny down to the creek in my story. Although, I laugh now. The creek was a "red light" zone. The Chinese and the unscrupulous lived down that was on what I believe was "relief hill road" or something like that. Sonny and Ian would have had to walk a ways before finding a proper place to enjoy the creek.
Many buildings were dismantled when the little mining town came to it's end, but the town still holds a magic to it. It's not like other ghost towns. Bloomfield almost feels like its still alive in many ways. The buildings aren't so run-down and sad looking. I can almost imagine someone from the town's hay day walking out of one of the buildings and greeting some passer-by.
Readers: North Bloomfield is scheduled to shut down by labor day along with many other California state parks. If you don't mind, Write Gov. Brown and tell him not to! North Bloomfield is one of the few sites that tells the history of HYDRAULIC mining - a fantastic part of California history. It would be so sad to see it go and all the artifacts with it.