Tag Archive for: american victorian museum

Stone Hall Chandeliers

Stone Hall Chandelier

Kat Alves Photography


Many of the most unique touches in the Miners Foundry were salvaged from demolition projects across the world.  Charles Woods and David Osborn, creators of the American Victorian Museum, were masters at seeing beauty where others only saw junk.  The collection of chandeliers in the Stone Hall are examples of their vision.

The chandeliers date from the Victorian era and were purchased from an English church undergoing a renovation.  Many elements of what is today considered Victorian style didn’t become popular until later in the reign of Queen Victoria.  Victorian style often included interpretations of historic styles fused with new influences from the Middle East and Asia.

The chandeliers were in storage until Osborn/Woods purchased and renovated the Miners Foundry, granting new life to forgotten works of art.



Remembering the AVM

AVM ad menu-page-001


A personal history by Jonathan Meredith

I first came to Nevada City in 1975 and started playing guitar music at the American Victorian Museum in 1976.  I was hired by David Osborn and Charles Woods to play Friday, Saturday nights and Sunday brunches. The AVM restaurant was managed by several different people as David and Charles were still living in San Francisco involved with City Opera. I played at the AVM Sunday brunches for about 10 years. Osborn and Woods not only owned the Foundry building but also some of the buildings on Spring Street with some other partners. I joined the AVM board when negotiations were under way of splitting off the Spring Street properties from the Foundry property which was around 1982.

I was mostly a silent member of the board as OW made all the decisions of the functioning of the AVM. I did help with some minor plumbing repairs and decor decisions. I was able to produce a successful Scott Joplin ‘Ragtime’ show than ran annually for four years. We also produced ‘Songs and Stories of the Gold Rush’, a song and dance play of the Gold Rush era. It lasted about three or four years as well.

Some other production of the AVM were the “International Teddy Bear Convention” that, at first, had 3 or 4 thousand people attend for a full weekend. The first one had a toy bear come over from England in the cockpit of an English airline to attend the festival. I danced the ‘hokey pokey’ as ‘Shorty’ the 9 foot stilted teddy bear. The Foothill Theater Company started at the AVM and did a few plays each year. When we got KVMR started we had to go to the top of Banner Mountain with our vinyl records on our backs if the snow was too deep and the cars couldn’t make it up the road. Originally David and Charles wanted to call the station KAVM but that handle was taken by a Coast Guard ship in California.

The AVM was an eclectic collection of Victorian era artifacts and ephemera as well as local artist displays and galleries. The AVM was always a cultural center and now has improved and expanded into the Miner’s Foundry that fulfills the original Osborne/Woods vision more efficiently and better oversight.

Faces of the Foundry: David “Sparky” Parker

Group 4

Chris Harada


Artist, historian, firefighter, bartender, and community leader David “Sparky” Parker has a long history with the Miners Foundry and Nevada City.  Here he shares a healthy dose of Spring Street history, where our community’s heart beats, and why he always looks at man hole covers.

Are you originally from Nevada County? If not, why did you decide to move to move to Nevada County? Where are you from originally?

After 46 years of living here it seems original but the answer is no. A college fraternity brother’s future wife lived in Nevada City and we would visit town. Loved it from the start. After graduation spent a Spring through Fall in Squaw Valley mostly having days filled with out door adventures with night adventures at the infamous Bear Pen Bar.  When the snow started to fly went down the hill to Winter in Nevada City and never left. Grew up in California’s rich farm land in the Sacramento—San Joaquin River Delta.

How did you first  discover the Miners Foundry?

So my first look at Miners Foundry, the place was a working foundry with what is the now parking lot filled with steel stuff and a very busy forklift. One of the things manufactured there were man hole covers which for years had me looking at man hole covers everywhere I went. The City of Sacramento had many, as on each cover you could find Miners Foundry Nevada City California on it. Spring Street was very different in those days as next door was Len’s Surplus (Sushi in the Raw to Nevada City Winery) which was really a fine junk yard.

What were your initial impressions of the Foundry?

My first real impressions came when Charles Osborn and David Woods began work towards starting the American Victorian Museum (AVM). I give full credit to Charles and David for saving the Foundry from destruction. Then they founded Community Radio KVMR and that became a Nevada City gem as well.  The AVM began to become a museum and in the process started a Sunday brunch which became a Sunday thing to do in town. That is when I fell in love with the Stone Room and all it’s charm which has never left me.

What do you like best about the Miners Foundry?

The feeling that Miners Foundry is one of the beating hearts of our community.

Why did you choose to become involved with the Foundry?

Let’s face it.  There is no better place with great history, charm and staff and is the home of America’s one-of-a-kind group The Famous Marching Presidents of Nevada City California.

What types of events do you most enjoy?

Many events at the venue advance the pleasure too.

Do you have a funny or touching story to share about an experience you’ve had at the Foundry?

In 2016 The Famous Marching Presidents turn 29 and almost half that time the Foundry has been our home. Each year the group honors an individual for outstanding community service with the Col. William “ Bill “ Lambert Award.  I have had the honor for 25 years to give the Lambert Award to the honoree. Almost all in the Stone Room. Woo woo to that!



Charles & David

Charles & David - Front of AVM

Calling all Nevada County history buffs!  We’re hoping someone can tell us the back story of this great photo.  If you know, please send an email to [email protected]

As the origins of the photo are murky for now, consider it a Happy Easter from the Miners Foundry, throw back Thursday style!


Our History

Old Foundry

By Paul Matson, President, Miners Foundry Board of Trustees

Charles Woods and David Osborn moved to Nevada City in 1957, leaving San Francisco to continue their work as artists and preservationists in the Sierra Nevada foothills. They shared a passion for all things Victorian, historical and artistic. Nevada City, with its wealth of neglected, but intact array of Victorian, Gold Rush era buildings was a perfect new home for them, for the rest of their lives.

Immediately they plunged into civic life by vigorously opposing the construction of the freeway through the middle of town in the 1960’s. Subsequent to that they worked with city officials to create Nevada City’s Historical Ordinance. They joined and helped create the first Board of Directors to purchase, operate and restore the Nevada Theatre, so that it could once again take its place serving as a live theater. They designed and produced posters promoting the reopening the Theatre and the Nevada City bike races, to name a very few contributions.

In 1972 they purchased the then defunct Miners Foundry which for many decades had produced equipment for the mines of our region and points beyond. With their eye for the historic, their artistic gifts and a vast collection of Victoriana, they transformed this dark, gritty industrial space into a vital, driving force in our community. Naturally, the buildings were rehabilitated with a meticulous care exercised toward maintaining their historical integrity. They are Historic Landmarks locally as well as nationally.

A few years later I was elected to my first of five terms on the Nevada City Council and began attending a multitude of events at the Foundry, then known as the American Victorian Museum (AVM). My life-long friendship with Charles Woods and David Osborn began there, allowing us to collaborate on numerous city issues, often having to do with historic preservation in our little town.

Osborn/Woods encouraged Terry Brown and Paul Perry to make the move from San Francisco to Nevada City. Paul and Terry soon established Music in the Mountains. Osborn/Woods founded KVMR community radio right there at the AVM, along with a string of annual events including the International Teddy Bear Convention and Robbie Burns Night. My personal favorite is Fright Night, which to this day is one huge, rocking, costume extravaganza.

In 1989 the AVM fell of hard times and the property was acquired by the Nevada City Winery. The winery had the brilliance, the resources, and skills to help establish the Miners Foundry Cultural Preservation Trust, to which the building was dedicated and donated. This wonderful structure, in the heart of the Queen City of the Northern Mines, was once again on line to serve as a hub, a focal point, and a center for all things cultural, educational and civic.

Alan Haley, a prominent local attorney and member of the Board of Directors of the Nevada City Winery crafted the Indentures of Trust. To this day those Indentures govern and guide the Miners Foundry Trustees in their custodianship of the facility and its multitude of activities. We are so fortunate that the Nevada City Winery was able to secure the property, and immediately return it to its all important role of community service.

For me, it’s all come full circle. A few years back I joined the Foundry Board of Trustees, and am honored to work as its President on its behalf for our town and surrounding areas. It is an incredible gift we have received. To say that it is a remarkable asset is an understatement.

Thank you, and we’ll see you at the Miners Foundry sometime soon!

Fright Night – Nevada County’s biggest Halloween bash 34 years and counting!

FRIGHT NIGHT, the Miners Foundry legendary Halloween Party is best known for fantastic decorations, titillating costumes, sweet treats, and lots and lots of rock n’ roll.

This year’s much anticipated FRIGHT NIGHT features four bands on two stages, two full bars, an infamous costume contest that always leaves the entire town talking, a spectacular light show, a photo booth to capture the good times, food to keep you fueled all night, plus the entire Foundry, with its beautiful stone halls and high wood beam ceilings, festively decorated.

Headlining FRIGHT NIGHT is Zepparella, the San Francisco based all-female Led Zeppelin tribute band.  Zepparella brings the passion, the beauty, the aggression, and the musicality of Led Zeppelin alive.  Lead by drummer extraordinaire Clementine, the band is also comprised of singer Noelle Doughty, guitarist Gretchen Menn and bassist Angeline Saris. The musicianship of the group is top-notch and evident with their embrace of Led Zeppelin’s penchant for improvisation. Often performing in angelic white, their live shows are disarming, mesmerizing, and, well, rocking.  The band promises a special surprise for FRIGHT NIGHT this year.

photo credit hojji firemaker

Also performing are local favorites Achilles Wheel featuring Gary Campus, Paul Kamm, and Mark McCartney of the Deadbeats, bassist Shelby Snow and guitarist, singer songwriter Jonny Mojo Flores.  Their blend of psychedellic rock, blues and bluegrass is fresh, lively and will make you want to dance.  Members of Achilles Wheel have headlined The Oregon Country Fair, The Trinity Tribal Stomp, The Marin Summer Music Festival, and performed at other festivals including The High Sierra Music Festival and The Kate Wolfe Festival.  Performing alongside Achilles Wheel are the exotic and mesmerizing Troupe Al Ama belly dancers.   Everyone’s favorite party band Mt Whateverest, will rock the Osborn & Woods Hall with their “astro-noise-space-grunge direct from the foothills to your skull”, their words not ours!  Rounding out this bill is Persist To Rise, an accomplished four-piece metal band that wowed audiences at this year’s Battle of the Bands.


This local tradition dates back to 1978 when Bobby Angel coined the name and produced the first five FRIGHT NIGHT’s at the American Victorian Museum as a fundraiser for community radio station KVMR.  Those first years are something of legend with elaborate set designs by Kitty and TJ Meekins, out of this world costumes, and a who’s who of local musicians performing.  The first Fright Night was $2 with costume; simulcast live on KVMR and featured Mighty Dread, Harry Harpoon and the House Wreckers, plus a special appearance by the Phantom of the Opera.

Thirty-four years later, FRIGHT NIGHT has gone through many producers including artists and visionaries David Osborn and Charles Woods, KVMR, Foothill Theatre Company and it is now considered one of the Miners Foundry’s largest annual fundraiser.  Expect an epic dance party, sensational costumes and theatrics, and a night you won’t forget.


Who: Zepparella, Achilles Wheel, Persist to Rise and Mt Whateverest
When: Saturday, October 27, Doors 8pm
Where: Miners Foundry, 325 Spring Street, Nevada City, CA
Tickets: $20 adv/$25 door, available at BriarPatch Co-op, Nevada City Box Office and online at www.nevadacityboxoffice.org.
For more information call 530 265 5040 or go to www.minersfoundry.org