2020-2021_Nevada County Gold

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An in depth introduction to Historic Nevada County, California including Grass Valley, Nevada City, Penn Valley, Truckee and Sierra County.

More Historic Towns to Explore

LARRY MILLER

Town Left the Union

Five miles from Grass Valley, Rough and Ready’s location appeals to professionals

working from home, those with home-based businesses, retirees and families. The

town was established in 1849 by a group of miners led by a captain who served

under “Old Rough and Ready” Zachary Taylor, hence the name.

As the story goes, when the government imposed a mining tax, the town decided to secede from the

Union. It was April of 1850 and the population voted to go it alone as the Great Republic of Rough

and Ready. They elected a president and signed a constitution. The new republic didn’t last long for

when the Fourth of July rolled around, Old Glory went back up the flag pole.

Visitors to this small community will find the past reflected in a row of miniature buildings behind the

historic toll house. There is also the 1849 Fippin Blacksmith Shop and the Grange Hall rebuilt after a

fire in 1853. The old cemetery is a few hundred yards up Stagecoach Way and dates back to 1855.

Each June the locals go all out to celebrate the town’s history with Secession Days & Chili Cook-Off.

Another popular event is the Community Breakfast the second Saturday of the month in the old

Grange Hall.

Creek Anything but Poor

The small mining town of Washington is nestled in a canyon of the

Yuba River’s South Fork not far from the historic emigrant trail that

is now Hwy. 20. Twenty miles from Nevada City on Washington Road,

the town was served by stage lines in the 1800s. Then the trip took

five hours, today it is a 30 minute scenic drive.

Settled in 1849, Washington was initially named Indiana Camp, but

the name was changed in a matter of months. The waters around

the town produced a large amount of gold, but the area also

had hardrock and hydraulic mines. Success attracted some

1,000 miners.

Poorman’s Creek was probably the richest of all the

nearby creeks and tributaries of the South Fork of the Yuba. Claims on the creek were

considered poor if they did not pay an ounce of gold a day per man.

Washington appears to be a mining town that time forgot. Note the Gold Rush era buildings,

historic graveyard and one room schoolhouse used for well over 100 years. Also take

advantage of the recreational opportunities such as camping,

hiking, rafting, fishing and

gold panning.

Stop & Look

Rough & Ready Chamber of Commerce:

roughandreadychamber.com

Just before the turnoff to Washington as you are coming

from Nevada City is a popular scenic overview. Nearby on

Washington Road is another overview worth a stop. Back

on Hwy. 20 four miles toward I-80 is the Alpha Omega

Rest Stop. Here is an interesting view of a large hydraulic

mining operation.

§

Alpha Omega Rest Stop

The

town

decided

to go it

alone

as the

“ Great

Republic

of

Rough

and

Ready.”

NEVADACOUNTYGOLD.com | 51

RHM IMAGES

KIAL JAMES PHOTOGRAPHY

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