Historical Timeline

Foundry Workers Outside of the Foundry

Foundry Workers with a Wheel Formed at the Foundry

Machine Shop

The largest single pour Pelton Wheel, cast at the Foundry

An Agreement dated 1917

The Foundry circa 1950

A sketch by Suzanne Hankins of the fireplace installed around 1974

1855
Ironworks foundry and blacksmith shop opens to repair and replace heavy machinery manufactured in San Francisco and Sacramento and hauled to the mining camps by teams of horses and oxen.

1856
Fire destroys most of Nevada City, including the Foundry.

1859
The Foundry is rebuilt using local granite and natural stone, and is named The Nevada Iron and Brass Foundry and Machine Shop

1862
It is believed Andrew Hallidie, inventor of San Francsico’s cable car system, builds the second Pine St. Bridge over Deer Creek with equipment cast at the Foundry.

1878
Lester Pelton models, tests, and manufactures the Pelton Wheel.*

1907
Foundry is sold to William Martin and renamed Miners Foundry. Martin previously owned the local Mayflower Mine which yielded a million dollar takeout in five years. He used the first commmercial Pelton Wheel to operate his stamp mill.

Foundry expands, fabricates steel, makes pipe fittings, rails, ore cars, and supplies for General Electric as well as gateballs for Hoover Dam, steel pieces for the spire of the TransAmerica Building in San Francisco, decorative pieces, parts for Liberty ships and the “Wee Willie” state-of-the-art juicer.

1965
Building is purchased by Ray Amick who sells off machinery, although some steel fabrication continued.

1974
Foundry is purchased by Charles Woods and David Osborn, San Francisco artists, who change the name to the American Victorian Museum, and convert the building, creating a venue for the performing arts. Community radio KVMR begins broadcasting.

1989
Foundry is purchased by Nevada City Winery; Victorian Museum relocates.

1990
Foundry is donated to the Nevada County Cultural Preservation Trust and renamed Miners Foundry Cultural Center; for cultural, historical, business, social
and community events.

* California Registered Historical Landmark #1012 plaque, Pelton Wheel Manufacturing Site.