Friday, September 12, 2008

The Empire Mines - The Tour Continues

The Empire Mines tour continued.

As much as we enjoyed the tour of the mine, the mineyard & buildings, my favorite spot on the property, was waiting a short walk up the hill!

The owner's cottage, was pretty sophisticated for a place in the "boonies". It was the only place in the general Grass Valley Area to have electricity, benefiting from the advancements for the mine. Mr. Bourn also built a clubhouse that contained a bowling alley, billiard room and plenty of space to entertain his investors & friends.

- The walk from the mine office & yard is an uphill path that is bordered by roses and shaded by huge trees. When the Bourns lived there, there were no trees, most having been cut down for use in the mine. It would have been hot, dry & dusty in the summer, and cold windy & muddy in the winter.

- As you head up the walk, you pass what is left of the guest house. All that remains in the foundation & the steps.

- At the top of the walk, you can just make out the entrance into the cottage's lawn area. There are two gorgeous urns flanking the gate.

- Here's a close-up. I'm fairly sure that the water bottle is NOT vintage!

- As you step out on the lawn, you are greeted by two identical fountains. The pools are about 20' in diameter.

- The whole area is fenced by this beautiful brick, iron & rock wall.

- Then, you turn to take in the view of the cottage. Beautiful! It was built to remind William Bourn of his Scottish homeland.

- As you approach the front door, there are flower borders and more pots & urns.

- The front porch light! Once the envy of everyone in Grass Valley, and now, ME TOO!

- To the right side of the front terrace is the entrance to the screen porch and additional plantings.

Unfortunately, I did not get a good picture of the front door. Too many people standing in line, and then the docents shooing us inside...

I'll be posting some interior shots next time. So, be sure check back in a couple of days.

Enjoy! Chris


  1. Hi Chris,
    Nice to meet you. Love your photos!!!
    What a great place.
    My brother lives in N.CA. San Ramon.
    Thanks for visiting me and the headless lady!

  2. HI Chris,

    How lovely Grass Valley is, and you know I don't really live that far away from Grass Valley and I have never been there. Since you posting, I think I must go and explore.

    Have a wonderful week,

  3. I love the cottage. I love all that stone!! I need to look for places like this around our area, I need more culture in my life!

  4. Oh, Chris!
    Thank you so much for sharing these pictures and taking us on the tour with you. I never get such pretty, clear pictures!!! Especially when there are others around, because I always feel so rushed. Yours came out so crisp. They're really breathtaking!
    Thanks, again!


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