Time Magazine has called Grass Valley “one of the top ten best small towns to live in.” The downtown Grass Valley area is considered by many to be the one of the best preserved historic towns in the United States.
Grass Valley is located in the California Sierra Foothills, just an hour from Sacramento, an hour and fifteen minutes from Lake Tahoe and three hours from San Francisco. There are tall pines and a definite rural feel. The downtown has great shops and fine restaurants and the historic Del Oro Theater. It is a well known destination for tourists, especially from the San Francisco Bay Area.
The early pioneers, settlers and prospectors who crossed the plains of the central United States, pushed over the Rocky Mountains, endured the harsh deserts of Nevada, and then made it over the Sierra Nevada Mountains via the Donner Pass before the snows fell. They often rested from their labors for a few days at Greenhorn Creek, near the present location of Nevada City.
Their cattle would frequently stray and would later be found about 3.5 miles west of their encampment. The cattle would be grazing on lush, sweet, green grass. This area was dubbed “the grassy valley”, as it was a green oasis and a very pleasant resting stop. It can still be seen driving along East Bennett Road.
During the late summer of 1849, two small bands of emigrants decided that they had traveled far enough and elected to stay the winter. This was the start of the town of Grass Valley, originally called Boston’s Ravine.
Small shops and restaurants opened, and bit by bit families began to move into what was once a wild mining town. Nevada City was initially the location that was chosen to live in by the more established families, so it developed a bit faster than Grass Valley.
Today, both cities continue to hold their beauty and history. They both offer opportunities of all kinds to their present day residents. The area is now called “Little Silicon Valley,” as high tech industry finds living and working in the area to be a wonderful way to go.