"Grass Valley: Historic Gold Mining Town" Grass Valley by TooTallFinn24

Grass Valley Travel Guide: 32 reviews and 66 photos

Grass Valley

Like its sister town Nevada City, Grass Valley developed based on the discovery of gold. Early settlers the area were prospectors from Oregon or farmers looking to develop land in the foothills. Legend has it that gold was discovered one day when a farmer stubbed his toe in a field, displacing a rock that was filled with gold.

When gold was not easily found on the surface the area took to hydraulic mining. To mine the area a large group of individuals who worked in the tin mines of Cornwall, England moved to the area. Their mining skills were exactly what Grass Valley needed to hydraulically mine the gold.

Two mines were responsible for the growth of the mining industry in town. The Empire Mine and the North State Mine produced over 150 million dollars of gold until they were both closed in 1956. The California State Parks Department purchased the Empire State Mine property and today operates an excellent state park in the area chronicling the history of the mine.

Today Grass Valley has nearly 13,000 residents. Its downtown is much bigger than neighboring Nevada City and does not have the same historic feel as its sister city. Most of the historic buildings are located on Mill or Main Streets in town.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Historic and Picturesque
  • Cons:Not as cute as Nevada City
  • In a nutshell:Small town feel with a strong downtown
  • Last visit to Grass Valley: Jan 2012
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (10)

Comments (1)

  • christine.j's Profile Photo
    Oct 11, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    I may go to California next year and I'm busy gathering ideas of where or visit. Thank you for this page.

    • TooTallFinn24's Profile Photo
      Oct 12, 2012 at 4:52 PM

      Thanks for visiting my Grass Valley page, I think you would enjoy the adjacent cities of Nevada City and Auburn more though :)


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