A few weeks ago, Mary Ann and I attended her family’s reunion in Sacramento. There were dozens of cousins, the majority of whom I had never met before, so I resigned myself to being the odd man out as they recalled stories of their distant youth.
Until one of them mentioned the old Pelton wheel at the North Star powerhouse. Mary Ann and I grew up in the same neighborhood (where we still reside today) and all those cousins had fond memories of playing among the (then) ruins of the glory days of mining in Nevada County when they visited the Niehaus clan in Grass Valley.
So I spent most of the afternoon recounting those thrilling days of yesteryear while munching on barbecued oysters. (One of the cousins has an oyster farm in the north state. Cool!) They had some good tales of their own.
Back when I was doing the short-lived daily version of It Takes A Village Idiot in The Union, I did a series of strips about those times. Today’s entry is the first of five. The others will follow as the week progresses. Enjoy.
Other Nevada County natives have told me tales of riding/rafting that sane canal and it sure sounds like it was a blast. Looking forward to the rest of this series.
Spent many an hour there myself. Back when Empire Street went all the way down to the Empire Hotel Restaurant, it was the way of choice to trek home from Hennessy and I could never resist a side trip to the old wheel. On weekends, I’d fish Squirrel Creek, then the NID ditch, and finally end up on the creek from about your house downstream to the wheel, where the fishing always seemed best.
Sometimes, I’d head on over to the Lola Montez house where the two ladies that caretook the place would fill me with stories of some Bavarian prince and his castle with a mirror in every room.