Tag Archive for: Throwback Thursday

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.



Andrew Smith Hallidie


Another famous inventor to have worked at the Miners Foundry in the 1800s is Andrew Smith Hallidie.  Best known as the inventor of San Francisco’s cable car system, he is believed to have spent time at the Nevada Iron & Brass Foundry Machine Shop (known today as the Miners Foundry) from October of 1861 to May of 1862.

Born in London in 1836 as Andrew Smith, Hallidie was apprenticed to a machine shop and and drawing office.  In 1852, Hallidie sailed for California, where he became a gold miner, blacksmith, surveyor, and builder of bridges.  While working on a mine at American Bar, Hallidie invented wire rope, solving the problem of rapid rope deterioration in mining.

The Clay Street Hill Railway cable car line began service in September of 1873.  Accounts differ as to the extent of Hallidie’s involvement in the design, building, and implementation of the cable car service, however he was the primary patent holder and is generally considered the inventor of the cable car.


The Stone Hall

Stone Hall entrance

Built in 1859, the Stone Hall is the oldest section of the historic Miners Foundry.  The Foundry has always moved in conjunction with Nevada City, adapting its use to serve the community for the last 160 years.  Initially named Nevada in reference to the snow capped mountains surrounding the area, Nevada City was incorporated in 1856.  As Nevada City grew to become the most important gold mining town in the state of California, businesses to serve the mines grew with it.

Kat Alves Photography

Kat Alves Photography

In an effort to prevent the roaring fires continually ravaging the city (seven times by one estimate), one of the first ordinances passed by the City of Nevada City stated the Foundry must be outside the city limits.  The area presently known as 325 Spring Street was outside of the City limits in 1859.  Using native stone and local timber, the Stone Hall was built to withstand the fires used to manufacture parts for the gold mines.