|Elevation||397 ft (121 m)|
Timbuctoo is an unincorporated community in Yuba County, California. It lies northwest of Smartsville,at an elevation of 397 feet (121 m).
Timbuctoo was once the largest town in eastern Yuba County.Situated strategically on the Yuba River near its gold-bearing sandbars, yet perched high enough into the river's surrounding hills to escape flood risk, the town enjoyed its heyday in the 1850s. Founded by the gold miners working the nearby river placer deposits, the town enjoyed further success with the introduction of hydraulic mining in 1854. Unlike many of the mining camps that amounted to little more than tent shantytowns, the wealth flowing from Timbuctoo allowed for the construction of permanent buildings of wood and brick. Aside from the usual stores and businesses, the town's amenities included a Wells Fargo office, saloons, a church, hotels and a theater. The town was founded in 1855.
A post office opened in 1858.
Legend has it that the unusual name was coined by an African American miner who panned in the area. He was said to have been from the region of Timbuktu, in Mali, although it is unclear whether or not the town was named by him or after him.In some versions of the tale, he was either an escaped or freed slave. It's also possible that it was named for one of two other older towns of the same name in New York and New Jersey by or for Gold Rush immigrants from one of those places.
Hydraulic mining benefited California in three ways; it filled the state coffers, lined the pockets of mining corporations and fueled the boom of the mountain mining towns. Downstream, it was another story. Tons of sediment and detritus from the mining operations destroyed farmland and riparian land. It also changed the course of rivers in the Sacramento Valley. Once out of the steep slopes of the hills and mountains, the river water in the valley ran slower, allowing the debris to settle. Silt began to accumulate on the bottom of the Yuba and Feather rivers, making the channels significantly more shallow, which threatened to end the vital riverboat traffic and subsequent trade with Sacramento and San Francisco. Citizens of the downstream towns and cities such as Marysville became alarmed at the increased risk of flooding the shoaling of the rivers presented. Eventually a system of levees would enclose Marysville to combat the new threat, permanently limiting the growth of the city. Besides threatening urban communities, valuable farmland became buried under the mining debris. Farmers began to see more frequent and devastating flood losses, and soon a legal battle erupted to stop hydraulic mining once and for all.[ citation needed ]
Ruling in favor of the farmers, the United States District Court in San Francisco effectively put an end to hydraulic mining in 1884. By the time the United States Congress passed an act allowing hydraulic mining to recommence (albeit only after sediment retention dams were erected), it was too late. It was 1893; the glory days when a single miner could make his fortune, or at least support himself with pick and pan, were gone. The hydraulic mining companies had seen their flume infrastructure washed away in a severe flood in 1891, and now were limited in where they could resume. Lacking an economic foundation, the town was abandoned.
The post office closed in 1883.
Timbuctoo is registered as a California Historical Landmark.While the general area of the "Timbuctoo Diggings" is inhabited, today it is considered by many to be a ghost town. The town site is accessed by the much-neglected Timbuctoo Road, which crosses a stream gulch by bridge in two places, one east and one west of town, meandering in a loop back to Highway 20. The western bridge buckled at the west end in 2008 and was unusable until replaced in 2014. Just to the east of the western bridge lies the ruins of the town's last structure: the Stewart Brothers Store/Wells Fargo Office, erected in 1855. Five miles west of the town on Highway 20 stands a historical marker. According to the 5 Miles Marker, the structure was restored in 1928. However, the plaque that once adorned the facade of the store/Wells Fargo office stated that it was restored in 1925. Whatever the case, the building has since been destroyed. Rumors that hoards of gold were still stored within the structure apparently motivated looters to tear down the walls in search of treasure. Now collapsed, its brick and stone remains, topped by rusty pieces of the tin roof, can be seen behind a fence erected to protect it from further vandalism.
The Timbuctoo Cemetery is still in use, and dates back to 1855. It holds approximately 89 graves, most from the late 1800s and the early 20th century. It is also fenced and gated to ward off vandals.
Timbuctoo was once a minor tourist attraction, enjoying public awareness of its historical significance and widespread enthusiasm for preservation. Despite all of these factors in its favor, Timbuctoo remains today an example of a failed preservation effort.
Marysville is a city and the county seat of Yuba County, California, located in the Gold Country region of Northern California. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 12,072, reflecting a decrease of 196 from the 12,268 counted in the 2000 Census. It is part of the Yuba-Sutter area of Greater Sacramento.
Hydraulic mining is a form of mining that uses high-pressure jets of water to dislodge rock material or move sediment. In the placer mining of gold or tin, the resulting water-sediment slurry is directed through sluice boxes to remove the gold. It is also used in mining kaolin and coal.
The Gold Country is a historic region in the northern portion of the U.S. state of California, that is primarily on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. It is famed for the mineral deposits and gold mines that attracted waves of immigrants, known as the 49ers, during the 1849 California Gold Rush.
State Route 49 is a north–south state highway in the U.S. state of California that passes through many historic mining communities of the 1849 California gold rush and it is known as the Golden Chain Highway. The highway's creation was lobbied by the Mother Lode Highway Association, a group of locals and historians seeking a single highway connect many relevant locations along the Gold Rush to honor the 49ers. One of the bridges along SR 49 is named for the leader of the association, Archie Stevenot.
The Yuba River is a tributary of the Feather River in the Sierra Nevada and eastern Sacramento Valley, in the U.S. state of California. The main stem of the river is about 40 miles (64 km) long, and its headwaters are split into three major forks. The Yuba River proper is formed at the North Yuba and Middle Yuba rivers' confluence, with the South Yuba joining a short distance downstream. Measured to the head of the North Yuba River, the Yuba River is just over 100 miles (160 km) long.
Englebright Dam is a 280 ft (85 m) high variable radius concrete arch dam on the Yuba River in the Sacramento River Basin, located in Yuba and Nevada counties of California, United States. It was put into service in 1941 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.
French Corral is an unincorporated community approximately five miles west of California State Highway 49 in Nevada County, California, United States.
Graniteville is a small, unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) located in Nevada County, California, United States. The town sits on the San Juan ridge separating the Middle and South Forks of the Yuba River, approximately 26 miles (42 km) northeast of Nevada City. The elevation of Graniteville is 4,977 feet (1,517 m) above sea level.
The North Bloomfield Mining and Gravel Company of North Bloomfield, California, was established in 1866 and operated a hydraulic gold-mining operation at the Malakoff Mine subsequent to the California Gold Rush. In its day, no other company's operations matched North Bloomfield Mining and Gravel Company in size or expense. The company operated until 1910. In the years prior, its profits and procedures had been reduced due to the landmark ruling of Woodruff v. North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Company.
Moore's Flat was a historic mining town located on the San Juan Ridge about 19 miles northeast of Nevada City and about 5 miles northeast of North Bloomfield. The town was about 1 mile south of the Middle Yuba at an elevation of about 4200 ft. On either side of it, lay the mining towns of Orleans Flat and Woolsey's Flat, each about I mile apart. All three were settled around 1851 and their histories frequently intertwine. Collectively, they are sometimes referred to as "The Flats." All three were part of Eureka Township.
Orleans Flat was a historic mining town located on the San Juan Ridge about 20 miles northeast of Nevada City and about 5 miles northeast of North Bloomfield. The town was about 1 mile south of the Middle Yuba at an elevation of about 4200 ft. To the west lay the mining towns of Moore's Flat and Woolsey's Flat, each about I mile apart. All three were settled around 1851 and their histories frequently intertwine. Collectively, they are sometimes referred to as "The Flats." All three were part of Eureka Township.
Woolsey's Flat was a historic mining town located on the San Juan Ridge, located about 17 miles northeast of Nevada City and about 3 miles northeast of North Bloomfield. The town was about 1 mile south of the Middle Yuba at an elevation of about 4200 ft. To the east lay the mining towns of Moore's Flat and Orleans Flat, each about I mile apart. All three were settled in 1851 and their histories frequently intertwine. Collectively, they are sometimes referred to as "The Flats. All three were part of Eureka Township.
Snow Point was a historic mining town in Nevada County, California on the San Juan Ridge about 2 miles east of Moore's Flat and about 6 miles west of Graniteville. It was located at an elevation of 4321 ft just off present day German Bar Road about midway between that road's intersections with present day Moore's Flat Road and Hagerty Road.
Alpha was a gold mining town in Nevada County, located about 2 miles southeast of the town of Washington, California and about 15 miles northeast of Nevada City, California. It lay at an elevation of 4120 feet, about 2 miles below the South Yuba River and just west of Scotchman Creek.
Blue Tent is a historic 19th century gold mining community located about six miles northeast of Nevada City, California.
Cherokee is a former gold mining community in Nevada County, California. As explained below, it has also been known as Patterson, Melrose and Tyler. It is located on the San Juan Ridge about 4 miles east of North San Juan. Its elevation is 2,516 ft (767 m) above sea level.
Mooney Flat was an important mining and transportation hub in western Nevada County, California, just east of the Yuba County line. It was situated on modern Mooney Flat Road, about 1 mile north of modern Highway 20, at an elevation of about 800 ft.
Sebastopol was a historic mining community located on the San Juan Ridge, about 13 miles north of Nevada City. It lay midway between Sweetland and North San Juan, around the intersection of modern Sweetland and School Roads, at an elevation of about 2000 feet.
The case of Woodruff v. North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Company was a lawsuit brought to California courts in 1882 where a group of local farmers sued North Bloomfield Mining and Gravel Company over damages caused to farmland in the Central Valley. The farmers who brought the suit claimed that the company's hydraulic mining operations resulted in the disposal of excess sediment, debris, and chemicals in local rivers. Prosecutors argued that the debris raised river beds and restricted flow in the rivers leading to heavy man-made flooding. In the years prior, flooding of debris and chemicals had destroyed a large portion of the valley's agriculture.