Placer mining began here during the early days of the Gold Rush, Which resulted in a number
of miners moving into the area to work the gravels of an ancient river channel. The Tisdale
brothers are reported among the early miners, working the area as early as 1853. The camp which
grew up here was originally named Columbia, after nearby Columbia Hill; the “North” was added to
distinguish it from Columbia in Tuolumne County when the post office was established on May 29 of
1860. Even with the name change, the place was still referred to as Columbia Hill, or “The Hill”
for many years.
When the miners found that they had built their camp right on top of some of the richest
diggings of the channel, the town was moved to its present location. This enabled hydraulic
operations to commence working the gravels, which they did on a large scale from the middle
1850’s until the practice was outlawed in 1884. There was also considerable lode mining in the
area, the most prominent being the Delhi Mine which yielded approximately $1 million in gold from
the 1860’s thought the 1890’s. The district was later placer mined on a small scale by Chinese
miners, from around 1890 to the early 1900’s. The total output of the placers in this area are
estimated at $3 million.