Nevada County, California
County of Nevada County
Location in the state of California
California is located in the United States
Region Sierra Nevada, Greater Sacramento
County seat Nevada City
Largest city Truckee (population and area)
• Total 974 sq mi (2,520 km2)
• Land 957 sq mi (2,480 km2)
• Water 17 sq mi (40 km2)
• Total 97,019
• Density 100/sq mi (39/km2)
Time zone Pacific Standard Time (UTC-8)
• Summer (DST) Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7
Nevada County was created in 1851 from parts of Yuba County.
Nevada City was the first to use the word “Nevada” in its name. In 1851 the newly formed Nevada County used the same name as the county seat. The bordering state of Nevada used the same name in 1861. The region came to life in the Gold Rush of 1849. Many historical sites remain to mark the birth of this important region in California’s formative years. Among them is the Nevada Theatre in Nevada City, the oldest theater built in California in 1865. It operates to this day and once hosted Mark Twain among other historical figures. The Old 5 Mile House stagecoach stop built in 1890, also operates to this day as a provider of hospitality spanning three centuries. This historical site still features “The stagecoach safe” that is on display outside the present day restaurant and is the source of many legends of stagecoach robbers and notorious highwaymen in the California gold rush era. The gold industry in Nevada County thrived into the post-WWII days.
The county had many firsts and historic technological moments. The first long-distance telephone in the world, built in 1877 by the Ridge Telephone Company, connected French Corral with French Lake, 58 miles (93 km) away. It was operated by the Milton Mining Company from a building on this site that had been erected about 1853. The Pelton wheel, designed to power gold mines, still drives hydro-electric generators today. Nevada City and Grass Valley were among the first California towns with electric lights. The Olympics, NASA, and virtually every television station around the country utilizes video/broadcasting equipment designed and manufactured by Grass Valley Group, founded in Grass Valley. Electronic medical dosing equipment was first developed and manufactured in Nevada County. The first commercially viable picture-phone was developed in Nevada City. More than fifty high tech and applied tech companies, and more than one thousand hardware and software design and development professionals call Nevada County home. The county is sometimes referred to as the “Silicon Valley of the Sierras.” The arcade video game was born in Nevada County, with Pong.
The Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad was built in 1876 and was the only railroad in the West that was never robbed, even though its primary freight was gold. (Builder-owner John Flint Kidder‘s reputation made it clear that he would personally hunt down and kill anyone who tried.) The rail line closed in 1942 and was torn up for scrap.
The Community of Rough and Ready seceded from the Union for a time and became the Great Republic of Rough and Ready.
Geography and ecology
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 974.49 square miles (2,523.9 km2), of which 957.61 square miles (2,480.2 km2) (or 98.27%) is land and 16.88 square miles (43.7 km2) (or 1.73%) is water. The county is drained by Middle andSouth Yuba rivers.
The western part of the county is defined by the course of several rivers and the irregular boundaries of adjoining counties. When the county was created, the founders wanted to include access to the transcontinental railroad, so a rectangular section was added that includes the railroad town of Truckee. What is remarkable about this is that the final shape of the county closely resembles the Deringer pocket pistol, a favorite at the time of the more urbane residents of this gold rush country.
The county has substantial areas of forest, grassland, savanna, riparian area and other ecosystems. Forests include both coniferous as well as oak dominated woodland types. There are also numerous understory forbs and wildflowers including the Yellow Mariposa Lily (Calochortus luteus).
National protected areas
Cities and town
Settlements over 10,000 population
Settlements under 10,000 population
Nevada City, the county seat, is incorporated as a city. The other settlements under 10,000 population are unincorporated.
- Nevada City (City status; County Seat)
- Alta Sierra – a subdivision
- Anthony House – Nisenan Indian territory
- Blue Tent
- Cedar Ridge
- Cherokee Township
- Chicago Park
- French Corral
- Lake City
- Lake of the Pines – a gated subdivision
- Lake Wildwood – a gated subdivision
- Malakoff Diggins
- Moore’s Flat
- Nevada City
- Nevada City Rancheria – Nisenan Indian government settlement area
- North Bloomfield
- North Columbia
- North San Juan
- Ophir Hill
- Penn Valley
- Pleasant Valley
- Ready Springs
- Rough and Ready
- Soda Springs
- Sunset District
- You Bet
- Placer County, California – south
- Yuba County, California – west
- Sierra County, California – north
- Washoe County, Nevada – east
Nevada County is one of four counties in the United States to border a state with which it shares the same name (the other three counties are Texas County, Oklahoma, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, and Ohio County, West Virginia).
- Gold Country Stage runs bus service in Grass Valley, Nevada City, Penn Valley, Alta Sierra and Lake of the Pines. A connection is available between Grass Valley and Auburn (Placer County).
- Tahoe Area Rapid Transit, operated by Placer County, has a route connecting Truckee with Lake Tahoe and the state of Nevada. Truckee also has its own local bus service.
- Greyhound and Amtrak stop in Truckee and Colfax.
Gold Country Telecare is the paratransit bus company providing door to door service for seniors and persons with disabilities in Grass Valley, Nevada City, and Penn Valley.
Nevada County Air Park is a general aviation airport located just east of Grass Valley.
Truckee Tahoe Airport is a general aviation airport in Truckee, partially in Nevada County and partially in Placer County.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Nevada County had a population of 98,764. The racial makeup of Nevada County was 90,233 (91.4%) White, 389 (0.4%) African American, 1,044 (1.1%) Native American, 1,187 (1.2%) Asian, 110 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 2,678 (2.7%) from other races, and 3,123 (3.2%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8,439 persons (8.5%).
|Population reported at 2010 United States Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 92,033 people, 36,894 households, and 25,936 families residing in the county. The population density was 96 people per square mile (37/km²). There were 44,282 housing units at an average density of 46 per square mile (18/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 93.4% White, 0.3% Black or African American, 0.9% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.9% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. 5.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 16.4% were of German, 16.3% English, 11.1% Irish, 6.8% Italian and 6.6% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 94.0% spoke English and 4.2% Spanish as their first language.
There were 36,894 households out of which 28.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.6% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.7% were non-families. 22.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 2.88.
In the county, the population was spread out with 23.1% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 24.1% from 25 to 44, 29.3% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.7 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $45,864, and the median income for a family was $52,697. Males had a median income of $40,742 versus $27,173 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,007. About 5.5% of families and 8.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.5% of those under age 18 and 4.9% of those age 65 or over.
Voter registration statistics
|Population and registered voters|
Cities by population and voter registration
|Cities by population and voter registration|
|2012||48.6%24,986||48.0% 24,663||2.9% 907|
|2008||46.2% 25,663||51.5%28,617||2.1% 1,138|
|2004||53.4%28,790||44.9% 24,220||1.7% 910|
|2000||54.8%25,998||37.2% 17,670||8.0% 3,811|
|1996||50.4%21,784||35.6% 15,369||14.0% 6,066|
|1992||39.2%17,343||34.9% 15,433||25.9% 11,425|
|1988||57.8%21,383||40.5% 14,980||1.8% 660|
|1984||62.4%19,809||35.3% 11,198||2.4% 761|
|1980||57.9%15,207||29.0% 7,605||13.1% 3,449|
|1976||48.4%8,170||47.0% 7,926||4.7% 785|
|1972||54.7%8,004||38.9% 5,693||6.4% 941|
|1968||51.4%6,061||39.1% 4,607||9.6% 1,126|
|1964||43.3% 4,899||56.5%6,397||0.2% 22|
|1960||53.4%5,419||45.7% 4,633||0.9% 89|
|1956||59.7%5,475||40.0% 3,667||0.3% 31|
|1952||64.0%6,819||35.1% 3,735||0.9% 94|
|1948||47.1%3,917||47.0% 3,914||5.9% 495|
|1944||44.4% 2,648||54.8%3,266||0.8% 47|
|1940||32.7% 2,863||66.0%5,782||1.3% 114|
|1936||26.8% 1,913||71.9%5,128||1.3% 90|
|1932||32.9% 1,842||63.3%3,544||3.8% 210|
|1928||52.0%2,173||46.9% 1,959||1.1% 47|
|1924||42.2% 1,513||8.6% 307||49.2%1,763|
|1920||65.0%2,055||23.6% 747||11.4% 361|
As of April 21, 2009, there are 25,601 registered Republicans, 21,548 registered Democrats, and 12,184 Declined to State voters in Nevada County. The American Independent and Green Parties have under 2,000 registered voters each. In both 2000 and 2004, George W. Bush won a majority of the votes in the county. In 2008, Barack Obama carried the county with a 51.5%-46.2% margin. 2008 marked the first time Nevada County went for a Democrat since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
Nevada County is split between California’s 1st and 4th congressional districts, which are represented by Doug LaMalfa (R–Richvale) and Tom McClintock (R–Elk Grove), respectively.
In the state legislature, Nevada County is in the 1st Assembly District, represented by Republican Brian Dahle and in the State Senate, the county is in the 4th Senate District, represented by Republican Jim Nielsen.
On November 4, 2008, Nevada County voted for Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages, by 3 votes.
- Lyman Gilmore, a contemporary of the Wright Brothers, developed early powered aircraft and operated the world’s first commercial airfield in Grass Valley. There is also evidence he may have flown before the Wright brothers.
- Founding member of the British rock band Supertramp, Roger Hodgson lives in Nevada County.
- Herbert Hoover, President of the United States. Hoover lived in Nevada City as a young mining engineer after graduating from Stanford University.
- Former Troubled Assets Relief Program head Neel Kashkari lives in the county as part of his “Washington detox.”
- Charles Litton Sr., a resident, and entrepreneur of Nevada County, assisted Raytheon in the development of the magnetron tube.
- Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots.
- Folk singer Utah Phillips lived in Nevada County until his death in 2008.
- Former actor and television announcer Edwin W. Reimers resided in Nevada City at the time of his death in 1986.
- Beat Poet Gary Snyder currently resides in San Juan Ridge in Nevada County.
- Clint Walker, actor.
- National Football League star Ricky Williams lives in the county.
- Chuck Yeager, pilot, the first man to break the sound barrier.
- Bean, E. F. (1867). Bean’s History and directory of Nevada County, California … With sketches of the various towns and mining camps … Also full statistics of mining and all other industrial resources. Nevada, Cal.: Printed at the Daily Gazette Book and Job Office.
- Comstock, D. A. (1998). Catalog of historical landmarks and dedicated sites in Nevada County, California. NCHS books. Nevada City, Calif: Nevada County Historical Society.
- Comstock, D. A. (2004). News and advertising in the early gold camps of Nevada County, California: Volume one – 1850 through 1852. Grass Valley, Calif: Comstock Bonanza Press.
- Comstock, D. A., & Comstock, A. H. (1999). Nevada County vital statistics, 1850-1869 (and up to 1876 for divorces): births, marriages, separations, divorces, naturalizations, and deaths in Nevada County, California, as compiled from county records, cemeteries, newspapers, letters, diaries, and family records, plus a list of clergymen who served in Nevada County during those same years. Nevada County pioneers series, v. 1. Grass Valley, Calif: Comstock Bonanza Press.
- Foley, D., Kelly, L., & Book, S. (1975). The Maidu Indians of Nevada County, California.
- Nevada County (Calif.). (1915). Nevada County, state of California: the home of deep producing gold mines and prolific fruit orchards. Grass Valley, Calif: Union Pub. Co.
- Nevada County Promotion Committee. (1904). Nevada County, California: the most prosperous mining county in the United States, where gold mines are found in a country with a perfect [sic] climate and all the comforts of civilization. [Nevada City, Calif.]: Nevada County Promotion Committee.
- Pastron, A. G., Walsh, M. R., & Clewlow, C. W. (1990). Archaeological and ethnohistoric investigations at CA-NEV-194, near Rough and Ready, Nevada County, California. Archives of California prehistory, no. 31. Salinas, CA: Coyote Press.
- True, G. H. (1973). The ferns and seed plants of Nevada County, California. San Francisco: California Academy of Sciences.
- Wells, H. L. (1880). History of Nevada County, California with illustrations descriptive of its scenery, residences, public buildings, fine blocks, and manufactories. Oakland, CA: Thompson & West.
- Wyckoff, R. M. (1962). Hydraulicking: a brief history of hydraulic mining in Nevada County, California. Nevada City, Calif: Osborn/Woods.
- List of school districts in Nevada County, California
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Nevada County, California