Two Murders on Deer Creek – 1944

This is a story of murder and assumptions. The first murder happened in October of 1944, when a young WWII veteran was shot in woods near the north fork of Deer Creek. The finger of guilt pointed squarely at the local scapegoat, an oddball mountain man.  Murders on Deer Creek Two months after his homecoming from World War II, 24-year-old …

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 …

North American Beaver – Water Banker

History In 1805, Lewis and Clark saw beaver dams “extending as far up those streams as [we] could discover them.” Even before the famous explorers, French trappers and traders were drawn to the land teeming with beaver. The beaver is North America’s largest rodent. Its pelt is waterproof and has a double layer of insulation making it highly desirable for human …

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 …

Ghost Pine – Produces Nuts in Harsh Growing Conditions

Pinus Sabiniana is native to California and Oregon and has a variety of names. Habitat Its habitat forms a ring around California’s ‘bathtub’ (central valley). It grows in poor soils, is adapted to hot, dry summers and usually keeps company with Blue and Live Oaks. Common Names & Naming History Common names include; Ghost Pine Gray Pine California Foothill Pine …

Gold Rush Stories – Book Review

“History, warts and all,” is the essence of what Gary Noy delivers. Noy’s meticulous research, ferreting through dusty archive boxes for photos and first-person accounts, makes his gritty, sometimes enormously disturbing, and often entertaining Gold Rush story vignettes radiate with life. In the lawless immigrant melting pot of California dreams, “accidents, disease, murder, natural disasters, [and] mob violence, … took …

1852 Flood Destroys Jenny Lind Theater

First published June 1, 2018 From the time the Gold Rushers arrived, entertainment became a part of life in the mining town. 1851: Summer “A theatre was erected by C. Lovell and others over Deer Creek, on the lower line of Main Street.” – Nevada, Grass Valley and Rough and Ready Citizens Directory 1856, A. A. Sargent March 1852 “The storm changed …

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 …

Anthony House Aflame & Under Lake Wildwood

First published July 25, 2018 Before the white man came, the Anthony House / Rose Corral area of Penn Valley was home to Nisenan Headman Pamelo. The village, Cocosa, was once a vibrant trading site.   “The very earliest settlement of which we can obtain a trace in the territory now known as Nevada County, was in the summer of 1848, …

Freeway Debates & Historic Preservation 1950’s – 1970’s

First published August 11, 2018 Once the minerals were exhausted, many hastily built mining towns were abandoned. Grass Valley and Nevada City persisted after the Gold Rush because San Francisco investors gambled on hard rock mining, water rights, and power generation. Large cattle ranches had become established. Lumber mills continued to operate, supplying timber for the railroad (mid-1860’s through 1870’s).  …