A few weeks ago, the Nevada County Historical Landmarks Commission hosted an unveiling ceremony for a new plaque installed at the North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center. Michael Coughlan, a 4th generation Nevada County resident and a Roads Maintenance employee for Nevada County, and his family have a strong connection to the Schoolhouse and now Cultural Center as it was owned by his family for many years.
Coughlan Family History with the North Columbia Schoolhouse
Michael remembers going there on weekends with his siblings growing up. As his sister said during the unveiling ceremony, their family came to own the Schoolhouse almost by default after the Gold Rush and the Lumber Rush ended and the large majority of the community left.
Members of the Coughlan family who lived in the North San Juan community taught there for a number of years while it was still open as a school. The North Columbia Schoolhouse is thought to be the last one-room schoolhouse in California that was in active use in 1979 before it was forced to shut down as a school by legislation requiring earthquake-proof construction.
Michael's daughter, the newest generation of the Coughlan family that includes 1937-1960 District III Nevada County Supervisor J.C. Coughlan, unveiled the Historical Landmark Commission's new plaque to recognize the unique cultural and community history of the North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center.
North Columbia Cultural Center Today
Today, the Cultural Center strives to provide programming that enhances our community life. Over the years, it has hosted hundreds of unique cultural events with artists, musicians, and writers from all over the world. It also hosts film screenings, community forums, classes, festivals, and the nationally renowned Sierra Storytelling Festival.