July 30, 2019 – The Nevada County Historic Landmarks Commission is pleased to announce the Board of Supervisors’ designation last Tuesday of the county’s newest historic landmark located at 22917 Pleasant Valley Road in Birchville.
For many years, Birchville was a major hydraulic mining center on the San Juan Ridge. David Johnson, a prospector, arrived here in 1851 and the town became known as Johnson’s Diggings. The town grew rapidly, and in 1853 was renamed Birchville in honor of Lumon Burch Adsit, a local merchant.
In 1865, the San Juan and Bridgeport Union Guard, under the command of Captain Francis Coffey, built their armory on the hill above this monument. In 1869, the armory became St. Columcille’s Catholic Church and served as a place of worship until 1955. In 1949, the Native Daughters of the Golden West erected this monument to commemorate the church.
In 1969, the building was purchased by Babe Pingalia, affectionately known as Mr. San Juan, and donated to the State of California. It was dismantled in 1971 and moved to Malakoff State Historic Park, about 15 miles up the ridge, where it stands proudly today as a testament to San Juan Ridge’s colorful history. .
The plaque commemorates the historic mining community of Birchville and St. Columcille’s Catholic Church which served the community of Birchville for 100 years. It will be installed on the monument erected by the Native Daughters of the Golden West in 1949 in front of where the church stood before it was moved to Malakoff State Historic Park in 1971.
The landmark will feature in the next edition of the Commission’s interactive map and electronic guide. The e-guide is an e-book listing more than 200 historical landmarks in the county and is available for any smartphone or tablet from Apple or Amazon. Go to You Bet Press (youbetpress.com) to find clickable links. Do you prefer paper? There are still copies of the latest edition available from Comstock Bonanza Press https://bit.ly/2IUHYi0
The purpose of the Nevada County Historic Landmarks Commission is to promote the general welfare of Nevada County and its citizens through the official recognition, recording, marking, preservation, and promotion of the county’s historic resources. of Nevada. For more information, please call 415-264-7230.