Historic Sites and Points of Interest in Nevada County
French Corral, population fewer than one hundred souls, is situated on quiet, Pleasant Valley Road about four and a half miles west of State Route 49 and three miles east of the Bridgeport Covered Bridge.
French Corral was founded as a mining town in 1849 after placer gold was discovered nearby. It was named for a stock pen belonging to a French settler.
Cattle still graze alongside Pleasant Valley Road.
Gold Rush Stonemasons
Mining camps started as clusters of tents and other makeshift shelters. If the mine was productive, wooden buildings were erected and a town was born.
Conflagrations were a recurring curse. Often entire town were repeatedly destroyed by fire. Stonemasons, especially Italian immigrants from Liguria, began building "fire proof" banks and stores of stone or brick with iron doors and iron window shutters to protect the contents from fire.
Many of these stone buildings survive. Some of them, such as the Butte Store, are the sole reminders of a lost mining town.
Some of these buildings are: