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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!

 

 

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!

Events

Martinis & Mistletoe

 

The Miners Foundry is pleased to present Martinis & Mistletoe on Saturday, December 2, 2017.  Martinis & Mistletoe is an intimate, vintage-style evening in the beautiful Stone Hall featuring cabaret jazz and holiday pops performed by the Swingtime Jazz Combo with Tamara Fouyer and Joe Hammel.  The evening will include a no host full bar offering holiday cocktails and sweet treats available for purchase.  Special edition bottles of Nevada City Winery wine will also be available for purchase.  Doors open at 7:00 p.m. and the show begins at 8:00 p.m.  Tickets are $25 General Admission and $40 Reserved Cabaret Seating.  Reserved Cabaret Seating includes a reserved cabaret table and a complimentary beverage from the bar.  Tickets are available online, by phone, or in person at the Miners Foundry Box Office, or in person at Briar Patch Co-Op.   Ticketing fees do not apply for purchases made through the Miners Foundry Box Office by phone or in person.

Tamara Fouyer is a longtime Nevada County resident and lives in Grass Valley with husband, Jason Fouyer, and their two young children.  As a child, she had the fortune to study classical voice and piano under Laura June Breen, who influenced her in life and in musical style.  She inspired in Tamara a love of many forms of music, from classical opera, Broadway, jazz and American Standards.  In college, she studied in Spain, and loves to incorporate songs of the Romance languages.  She gravitates toward songs that touch the heart and possess melodies that endure.  She has performed with Cabernet Duo at various local venues and now with jazz pianist, Joe Hammel and his Big Band, the Swingtime Jazz Combo.

Joe Hammel, Swingtime‘s founder and pianist, spent over fifty years in the field of education, including Secondary and University teaching, and a Deanship at Sierra College. Dr. Hammel is a songwriter, and from early lessons at age five has evolved into an accomplished pianist focused on, and enchanted with, the music and “swing” beat of the 20’s – 40’s. His band Swingtime, his entertaining at Senior Citizen residences, hours in the gym, and his newest artistic interest painting, keep him very busy!”