Grass Valley is nestled in California’s northwest region and is the largest city in Nevada County. If the territory seems familiar it may be because of the famous days of the Gold Rush when people from all over the world tried their luck at finding their fortunes. Situated in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, the area was once home to hundreds who came from England– Cornwall to be exact in an effort to parlay their tin mining experience into a gold mining windfall.
The city is still home to the famous Empire Mine and the North Star Mine, both tourist attractions today and in their heyday two of the richest mines in the state. They are steeped in history and the Empire Mine has now turned into a state park, complete with artifacts, exhibits, history and English style cottage and gardens that guests can explore at will. Likewise, the North Star Powerhouse Mining Museum is open to the public complete with costumed docents and tours available to watch the history come to life as most of the machinery is still in good working order.
Because so many of townsfolk were made up of English people during the 1800’s Gold Rush, the city today still has a lot of strong ties to England and her customs. There are annual festivals and of course plenty of English style food for visitors to enjoy. Bourne Cottage is another tourist attraction in town that is a former residence for mine owners which has been left in its original state. It sits amid lovely English gardens with paths and walks to take to really step back in time to a simpler time in our history, one without cell phones and the internet and with the expectation that the next find would make you a millionaire.
The area is also home to lovely scenery and natural beauty that can be seen through the many walks, tours and parks in the area. It is a quiet city that has one hand in the past while being a destination for many throughout the year. Most people who now reside in the city either work in retail or tourism industries and keep the memories of the Gold Rush alive and well.
Not all of the miners who rushed to Grass Valley California made their millions, but they left us with memories that today has turned into history for all to enjoy.