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Nevada City/Grass
Valley, California

Grass Valley

Photo Grass Valley, in the Gold Country of Northern California









Gold Rush

Nevada City

Grass Valley

Truckee and Rough & Ready

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When immigrants first came through, the meadows provided fodder for the horses, oxen and cattle. The name Grassy Valley seemed appropriate.

Photo Grass Valley, in the Gold Country of Northern California

Later, in 1849, a group of immigrants from Boston settled by the side of Wolf Creek. They built a store and cabins and named their settlement Boston Ravine. The main route through the area ran between Nevada City and Rough & Ready. The area that is now downtown Grass Valley was about halfway between the two settlements, so in 1850, it came to be known as Centreville.

The Postal Service opened it's first office under that name. Ultimately the three settlements became one town and adopted the name Grass Valley.

Most gold was sifted from river gravel along the creeks in the area, but when gold was discovered in quartz deposits, hard rock mining was introduced.

A man named Night was chasing his cow, or so the story goes, and stubbed his toe on an outcropping. Or maybe his name was McNight, and maybe he didn't really stub his toe. Maybe the cow was named McNight... well that's going a bit far, but you see how western stories go.

In fact, it still seemed easier to pan gold than to free it from rock, at least until October of 1850, when an exceptionally rich deposit was found by George Roberts. Roberts later sold his claim to the company that would become the Empire Mine which pumped out gold in huge quantities until World War II.

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