Nortonville, California

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Coordinates: 37°57′28″N121°52′50″W / 37.95778°N 121.88056°W / 37.95778; -121.88056

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Nortonville
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Nortonville
Location in California
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Nortonville
Nortonville (the United States)
Coordinates: 37°57′28″N121°52′50″W / 37.95778°N 121.88056°W / 37.95778; -121.88056
Country United States
County Contra Costa County
Elevation
[1]
801 ft (244 m)

Nortonville is an unincorporated ghost town in Contra Costa County, California. It was located on Kirker Creek 5.5 miles (9 km) north-northeast of Mount Diablo, [2] at an elevation of 801 feet (244 m).

Location

Nortonville is located on Nortonville Road just outside the city of Pittsburg in Contra Costa County. The town site is now part of the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve.

History

Rose Hill Cemetery, near Nortonville Regional Park, CA
Photo by Heather Grimes, September 30, 2012. Rose Hill Cemetery.jpeg
Rose Hill Cemetery, near Nortonville Regional Park, CA
Photo by Heather Grimes, September 30, 2012.

Nortonville was founded by Noah Norton in 1855. [3] He, along with three partners named Cutler, Matheson and Sturgis, started the Black Diamond coal mine at Nortonville in 1860. [4] The mine was incorporated as the Black Diamond Coal Mining Company in June 1861. [5] [6]

Nortonville was also the southern terminus of the six mile long Black Diamond Coal Mining Railroad (also known as the "Black Diamond Railroad"), built in 1868. [7] The railroad connected Nortonville with the San Joaquin River, at Black Diamond Landing, California, with a stop at Cornwall, California (the latter two towns are now a part of the city of Pittsburg, California).

The town was home to many Welsh miners. [3] In 1885 the Black Diamond Coal Mining Company moved all the coal miners from Nortonville to another of the Company's mines at Black Diamond, Washington Territory. [3] [6] The Nortonville mine was so deep that it acted as a drain for the surrounding mines, and when the owners of the other mines refused to contribute to the cost of pumping out the water, the company simply shut down and moved its operations. [8] Currently what is left behind at Nortonville is a deserted area. The brick foundation of the mine's hoisting works, remnants of the railroad bed, and an old cemetery [3] are all that remain. The cemetery is known as the "Rose Hill Cemetery," which was named for Emma Rose, daughter of Alvinza Hayward, who was president and chief stockholder of the Black Diamond Coal Mining Company. [9] In the 1940s Mrs. Rose donated the cemetery to the county. [9]

Four other coal mining towns were established in the same mining district: Somersville, Stewartsville, West Hartley and Judsonville. [3]

A post office operated at Nortonville from 1874 to 1910, with closures in 1887 and from 1890 to 1891. [2]

Related Research Articles

Contra Costa County, California County in California, United States

Contra Costa County is located in the state of California in the United States. As of the 2020 census, the population was 1,165,927. The county seat is Martinez. It occupies the northern portion of the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area and is primarily suburban. The county's name refers to its position on the other side of the bay from San Francisco. Contra Costa County is included in the San Francisco–Oakland–Berkeley, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Pittsburg, California City in California, United States

Pittsburg is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States. It is an industrial suburb located on the southern shore of the Suisun Bay in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, and is part of the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta area. The population was 63,264 at the 2010 United States Census.

Black Diamond, Washington City in Washington, United States

Black Diamond is a city in King County, Washington, United States. The population was 4,151 at the 2010 census.

Roslyn, Washington City in Washington, United States

Roslyn is a city in Kittitas County, Washington, United States. The population was 893 at the 2010 census. Roslyn is located in the Cascade Mountains, about 80 miles east of Seattle. The town was founded in 1886 as a coal mining company town. During the 20th century, the town gradually transitioned away from coal, and today its economy is primarily based on forestry and tourism. The town was the filming location for The Runner Stumbles, Northern Exposure, and The Man in the High Castle. Many of the town's historical structures have been preserved, and its downtown was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Black Diamond may refer to:

Dawson, New Mexico Ghost town in New Mexico, United States

Dawson is a ghost town in Colfax County, New Mexico, United States. Dawson was the site of two separate coal mining disasters in 1913 and 1923. Dawson is located approximately 17 miles northeast of Cimarron. Dawson was a coal mining company town founded in 1901, when rancher John Barkley Dawson sold his coal-rich land in northern New Mexico to the Dawson Fuel Company. The Dawson Railway was built connecting the town to Tucumcari. The mines were productive, and by 1905 the town boasted a population of nearly 2,000, later reaching around 9,000.

Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve United States historic place

The Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve is a 6,000-acre (2,400 ha) park located north of Mount Diablo in Contra Costa County, California under the administration of the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD). The district acquired the property in 1973. The preserve contains relics of 3 mining towns, former coal and sand mines, and offers guided tours of a former sand mine. The 60 miles (97 km) of trails in the Preserve cross rolling foothill terrain covered with grassland, California oak woodland, California mixed evergreen forest, and chaparral.

The Green Age of Asher Witherow is the debut novel of M. Allen Cunningham, published in 2004. It is the story of Asher Witherow, a boy born in the coal mining town of Nortonville, California in 1863. The story is framed as a memoir of sorts, penned by the elderly Witherow in the spring of 1950, long after the book's events occurred, and many years after the community of Nortonville ceased to exist. Witherow, a mysterious and haunted old man of 86, shares the troubling story of his life from birth to age 20, when he left Nortonville. Central to the tale is the image of the 4,000 foot Mount Diablo, which assumes a symbolic presence for Witherow. The book's title is inspired by the poem "The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower" by Dylan Thomas, which begins:

"The force that through the green fuse drives the flower / Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees / Is my destroyer."

Somersville, California Former settlement in California, United States

Somersville is an unincorporated ghost town in eastern Contra Costa County, California. It is located 6 miles (10 km) north-northeast of Mount Diablo, at an elevation of 741 feet.

Stewartville, California Unincorporated community in California, United States

Stewartville was an unincorporated place in eastern Contra Costa County, California that is now a ghost town. It was located 6 miles (10 km) northeast of Mount Diablo, at an elevation of 558 feet. It was a mining town for the nearby coal mines.

West Hartley, California Former settlement in California, United States

West Hartley was an unincorporated community in eastern Contra Costa County, California. It was located 7 miles (11 km) northeast of Mount Diablo, at an elevation of 440 feet. It is now a ghost town. It was a mining town for the nearby coal mines.

Franklin, Washington

Franklin was a coal mining town located in east King County, Washington, near the current so-called Hanging Gardens on the Green River, about 1 mile (1.6 km) east of Black Diamond.

Cornwall, California Unincorporated community in California, United States

Cornwall, formerly known as Cornwall Station, was an unincorporated community in Contra Costa County, California, before it was absorbed into the City of Pittsburg. It was located 7.25 miles (11.67 km) east-southeast of Baypoint and 1 mile (1.6 km) south of downtown Pittsburg, at an elevation of 39 feet (12 m) ASL.

Noah Norton was a government agent, museum founder, and California Gold Rush prospector. He was instrumental in founding the towns of Adrian, Michigan and Nortonville, California.

The Black Diamond Coal Mining Railroad was 5.9 miles (9.5 km) long and ran from Black Diamond Landing, California to Nortonville, California. It was owned and operated by the Black Diamond Coal Mining Company and therefore did not have its own official name. Over the years, it has been known by at least four different names.

Horning, Pennsylvania Neighborhood in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, United States

Horning is a neighborhood in the borough of Baldwin in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States. It was the residence of miners of the Pittsburgh Terminal Railroad and Coal Company #4 Mine, which had a racially integrated workforce, unusual in that era.

Illinois coal wars

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Southport, Oregon Unincorporated community in the United States

Southport is an unincorporated locale in Coos County, Oregon, United States. It was located along Southport Creek, near where the creek flows into Isthmus Slough, 6.5 miles (10 km) south of the city of Coos Bay, at an elevation of 30 feet. The former community is now a ghost town.

The Black Diamond Coal Mining Company was formed in 1861, consolidating the Cumberland and Black Diamond coal mines in the region of Mount Diablo, in Contra Costa County, California. During its years of operation as a mining company, it established three towns: Nortonville, California, Southport, Oregon, and Black Diamond, Washington. The company's mines in California and its settlement of Nortonville later became part of the Black Diamond Mines Regional Park and a California Historical Landmark. Several railroad lines were built in California and Washington to support the company's mines, and the company operated numerous ships to transport its coal. As the mines played out and petroleum became the more common source of energy, the company closed its mines and transitioned into real estate as the Southport Land and Commercial Company.

References

  1. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Nortonville, California
  2. 1 2 Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 673. ISBN   1-884995-14-4.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "The move of coal miners from Nortonville, California to Black Diamond, Washington Territory, 1885". Jacqueline Byer Dial, 1980.
  4. "Letter from Contra Costa County," Daily Alta California, Dec. 10, 1860.
  5. "Another Coal Mining Company," Daily Alta California, June 15, 1861.
  6. 1 2 "History; The Company", southport-land.com/history. Retrieved 2011-02-02.
  7. Third Annual Report of the Board of Railroad Commissioners of the State of California for the Years ending December 31, 1880-81-82, pages 345-348.
  8. Bruce Cornwall, "Life Sketch of Pierre Barlow Cornwall," (1906), p. 67.
  9. 1 2 "Rose Hill Cemetery & The Mt. Diablo Coalfield," Diablo Watch, Spring 2005, No. 39.

Here is Rose Hill Cemetery I shot with my drone in the summer of 2015 https://www.flickr.com/photos/147287664@N02/30358971202/in/album-72157675514398815/