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).  …

California Oaks – Foundation Habitat Species

First published May 29, 2017 The Oak Woodland Forest ecosystem is prevalent in California. It contains both evergreen (live oaks) and deciduous types of oak trees. Oaks are considered foundation species because of their role in the web of life. Identifying California Oak Trees Acorns – One of the Most Important Protein Sources for Native Americans History: Native American Food Processing   …

Scurvy in California’s Food Capital

First published June 9, 2018 Well before the Gold Rush (by the 1750’s) it was known that eating citrus fruit prevented scurvy scur·vy | ˈskərvē/ | noun – a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C, characterized by swollen bleeding gums and the opening of previously healed wounds, which particularly affected poorly nourished sailors until the end of the 18th century. “Yet …

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 …