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Nevada County

Grass Valley ~ Nevada City ~ Rough & Ready ~ North Bloomfield

Nevada ~ Nuh-vad'-uh; Spanish: Snow Covered

Nevada County ~ Founded in 1851, Nevada County was the heart of the northern mines for years. It boasts the world's first long-distance telephone line, and is the scene of the Donner Party tragedy. There are many historical landmarks throughout, along with modern culture. Elevations range to over 9,000 feet. Industry includes high technology, lumber, tourism, fruit, mining, electronics.

Places of interest, in addition to the mines listed below:

  • Red Dog
  • French Corral
  • North Columbia
  • North San Juan


Grass Valley ~ The Empire Mine State Historic Park is located here. It was California's oldest, largest, and richest hardrock mine and the third most productive in the United States. It operated for over 100 years and produced about 5.8 million ounces of gold from its 367 miles of underground shafts. Lola Montez went to Grass Valley after San Francisco, where the miners loved her. She taught her neighbor Lotta Crabtree to dance. Both of their homes are located here and are privately-owned with historical markers in front.

Rough & Ready ~ This camp is located four miles west of Grass Valley, and was named after General Zachary Taylor, "Old Rough & Ready". In 1850, the town became a republic after seceding from the Union. It rejoined 98 years later to gain a post office. Bridgeport is three miles west of Rough & Ready and French Corral. Bridgeport Bridge, at the southfork of the Yuba River, is a covered bridge built in 1862 as a toll-crossing for the miners' freight and supplies. It's the longest single-span covered bridge in the world, 230 feet long. It is now a State Historical Landmark and is closed to vehicles. Lotta Crabtree made her entertainment debut here when she was six years old on an anvil at Fippin's smithy.

Nevada City ~ [Spanish: Snow Covered] A few miles north of Grass Valley on Hwy. 49, this town was built on seven hills: Piety, Aristocracy, Prospect, Lost, Cement, Wet and American. The Nevada Theatre is the oldest theatre in the Mother Lode. Eleanor Dumont, a.k.a. "Madame Moustache" and "the blackjack queen of the northern mines," lived and operated a gambling hall here. The Oregon Creek covered bridge is 20 miles north. The Nevada County Historical Museum, National Hotel (1860s), Pioneer Park, Fire Houses I and II, the Red Castle, the Miners Foundry, and Ott's Assay are located here.

North Bloomfield ~ The famous Malakoff Hydraulic Diggins are located here, showing the devastation that hydraulic mining caused before its prohibition.

Oroville ~ (Butte County) It's not on Hwy. 49 and it's not in Sierra County, but it has a full gold rush history. In 1849 miners came and did all kinds of mining, including placer and hydraulic. Gold dredging started here and spread throughout the world. The town is built on an ancient river bed that was rich with gold. Acres and acres of waste tailings were used in building Oroville Dam.



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