Brief History: The Empire Mine was the richest
hard-rock mine in the State of California producing 5.8
million ounces of gold in its operating history of 106
years (1850-1956). George Roberts, the original discoverer of
the gold soon sold his interest and by 1869 William
Bourn Sr. owned controlling interest. The Bourn family
maintained control of the mine until 1929 when it was sold
to Newmont Mining. It ceased operation in 1956. In 1975 the
State purchased the surface property as the Empire Mine
State Historic Park. The Park continues to draw thousands
of worldwide visitors each year and is noted for its
historical tours of the Bourn Cottage, the mineyard and
"living history" events.
Park Attractions: In addition to the tours noted
above, the Park museum has a scale model of the underground workings
of the Empire/Star mine complex, a "gold room" which displays
ore samples from local mines,an Assay Office, and an extensive mineral collection. A video entitled "Tears from the Sun" depicting various gold mining
techniques is shown on a regular basis. On Mother's Day Weekend a Springtime Open House is held .It features the
"Living History" programs,food service, and entertainment. As an added
bonus the Gardens are in bloom!!
The annual Miner's Picnic is scheduled for late summer and over Thanksgiving weekend the Park sponsors a "Holiday Open-House". For groups of 25 or more a Miner's Luncheon is available. For additional information on these events click on the appropriate heading on the "Site Index". For details on schedules & fees click here.
Park Location: The Park is located in Grass Valley
California, the heart of the gold country.
How to get to the Park: The Park is located on
Empire Street which is a well marked exit on Route 49.
Travelers from southern California or the Bay area should take
route 80 and pick up route 49 north in Auburn. Travelers
from Nevada and the east should take route 80 and exit on
route 20 which becomes 20 / 49 in Nevada City. For visitors coming from Marysville via route 20, route 20 becomes Empire Street as it passes over route 49 (just continue straight on to the Park).
Picnics & Animals:
Except for the Miners' Picnic, food is not allowed in the Park. However, a picnic area is available in the parking lot area. Dogs on leash are welcome in the Park and on the hiking trails.
Seasons / Climate / Recommended: Layered clothing is
recommended. Grass Valley is warm in the spring and
summer and cool in the fall and winter. The rainy season
starts in November and usually ends in May.
Reservations: Reservations are not required unless
it is a school or group tour and for luncheons. Reservations
and additional information can be obtained by calling the
Park at (530) 273-8522.
Address:The Park's address is: Empire Mine State Historic Park, 10791 East Empire St.,Grass Valley. Ca. 95945.
Gift Shop: EMPA's Gift Shop carries an extensive selection of fine gifts, souvenirs, fossils and minerals.Also available at the Gift Shop are rose bushes propagated from the historical roses in the gardens.All profits from sales are used by EMPA to maintain and improve the Park.
Lodging & Dining: for information on lodging,dining and
other activities in the Grass Valley / Nevada City area click on
Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park: for information on
the discovery of gold by James Marshall in Colma on January 24,1848 and the Gold Discovery Park Association click on