South Pine Cafe Art Show Virtualized and Extended

The Multimedia Story Show at the South Pine Cafe in Grass Valley was installed on March 4th. On March 19th, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued the stay-at-home order. The physical show will remain at the Cafe through the end of May. Until then, the show’s been virtualized! Click on the thumbnail below to print out a PDF with Google Lens …

2019 Nevada County Holiday Giving-Guide with a Land Stewardship Focus

Support organizations that preserve, protect, clean, heal, and educate about our local habitats. Buy a holiday gift, spend outdoor quality time with family and friends and keep Nevada County healthy. Visit the websites of the organizations below to; make a gift for operating expenses in someone’s name buy film festival tickets attend lectures take family and friends hiking volunteer to …

Deer Creek Water Origins

  Before we ever see water in Deer Creek, most of it has rained, snowed, and been stored in NID’s Mountain Division and PG&E Lakes. It’s moved from lake to lake, going through multiple powerhouses, generating electricity. It enters Scotts Flat Lake where swimmers, motor boaters, and fisherman enjoy it. Flowing into Lower Scotts Flat Reservoir, human or wind-powered boaters …

Alonzo Delano – Grass Valley Champion & Gold Rush Correspondent

At age 43, after being sick with consumption, Alonzo Delano left his home and loved ones to join the mass of gold-seeking emigrants making the overland journey to California (1849). In Illinois, he sold bank stocks and commodities and lived with his wife and two children; Fred an invalid son of 16 and Harriet, a six-year-old daughter.  After surviving the …

Timbuctoo – Hydraulic Mining & First Land Use Limit Law

First published on April 30, 2018 Though Timbuctoo and Smartsville are in Yuba County, we are including them in our creek history because water from the Yuba River and Deer Creek watersheds flowed through them causing one of the first land use limit laws to be written in the country.   In the 1850s, Timbuctoo and Smartsville were centers of …

Land of Broken Promises – Nisenan Ground Zero

If you live in Lake Wildwood, Rough & Ready, Smartsville, Penn Valley, on Beale Air Force Base or off McCourtney or Lime Kiln Roads, you’re on ground zero for the Nisenan People of Nevada County, the land of broken promises. Long before houses and roads were built, this land was designated in a treaty between the local tribes and the United …

Grizzly Entertainment & California Bear Extinction

First published June 15, 2018 The largest and most powerful of bears, the California grizzly, thrived in New Spain when European explorers first set eyes on the land.  At their peak, approximately 10,000 grizzlies lived in California making the population one of the densest in the Pacific Northwest. “The grizzlies are the commonest kind of bear found in California, and are …

Mining Pollution Legacy and Clean-Up

First published May 21, 2017 In the mid-1850’s hydraulic mining filled the stream channels and muddied the waters all the way down to the Pacific Ocean. Mercury was used in sluice boxes to amalgamate gold. “It is estimated that ten million pounds of mercury were lost into the streams,” comments Kyle Leach, Geologist for Sierra Streams Institute. “The tale of the Gold Rush …

Exclusionist State Governor

First published March 13, 2017 Peter Hardeman Burnett: California’s First Governor Before securing his position as California’s first Governor (1849 – 1851), Burnett moved his family from Missouri to Oregon on a wagon train. “As a legislator in Oregon, Burnett proposed that all free blacks be forced to leave the state. Any who failed to leave were to be arrested …

Name History: Oustomah, Deer Creek Dry Diggings & Nevada City

First published May 30, 2018 Before the Gold Rush: The Nisenan people called the Nevada City area Oustomah. At one time, it was home to approximately 2,000 Indians. It was part of a network of villages along Deer Creek. August 1849: According to, California Place Name, Deer Creek was named by Isaac Wistar and Mr. Hunt after leaving a freshly-killed deer. Hostile Indians …

Miners Provisions – 1850 Food Prices

“InMarch, 1850, the snow was ten feet deep on the banks of Deer Creek – three times the depth it has ever since attained. Goods of all kinds sold at exorbitant rates.”- Nevada, Grass Valley & Rough and Ready Citizens Directory – 1856 – A. A. Sargent fresh beef & pork  – .80¢ / lb molasses – $7.50 / gal flour – 44¢/lb potatoes …

The Diary of a Forty-Niner – A Skillful Blending of Fact and Fiction

First published April 7, 2017   In the 1947 centennial edition of The Diary of a Forty-Niner published by James Ladd Delkin, Oscar Lewis, a California historian, researched the origins of the book. Below is his introduction along with his findings. ——— In the voluminous literature of the Gold Rush The Diary of a Forty-Niner has long occupied a position at once unique and puzzling. …