Nevada City was first settled in 1849, during the California Gold Rush, as Nevada (Spanish for “snow-covered”, a reference to the snow-topped mountains in the area).
The Gold Tunnel on the north side of Deer Creek was the city’s first mine, being located in 1850. The first saw mill built in Nevada City was on Deer Creek, just above the town, in August, 1850, and was built by Lewis & Son, with a water wheel. In 1850-51, it was the most important mining town in the state, Nevada County being the leading gold-mining county in the state. In 1851, The Nevada Journal became the first newspaper published in the town and county. The town of Nevada was incorporated on April 19, 1856. In 1864, the word “City” was added to the name to relieve confusion with the nearby state of Nevada, and the town has legally been known as “Nevada City” ever since.
Tourists visit Nevada City for outdoor recreation, history, fine arts and entertainment and special events. Nevada City attracts vacationers in all four seasons and is a popular weekend getaway for visitors in Northern California and Nevada. Nevada City serves as a base for recreation in the nearby Tahoe National Forest, South Yuba River and High Sierra. Nevada City is just 45 minutes from Donner Summit area skiing and 60–90 minutes from Lake Tahoe ski areas.
Nevada City’s popular tourist attractions include:
- South Yuba River State Park— Four season hiking and gold panning, spring whitewater boating and summer/fall swimming on the federally designated Wild and Scenic South Yuba River.
- Historic downtown area— Much of the city’s downtown area (bisected by Broad Street) is in the National Register of Historic Places. Most of the buildings date from the 19th century.
- The Nevada City Classic— Since 1960, downtown is the site for a challenging professional cycling race. Races for juniors, men, and women usually take place on Father’s Day Weekend. The race attracts thousands of visitors. In June 2009, Lance Armstrong was the winner.
- Nevada City Winery was the first bonded winery to open in Nevada County following the Prohibition of the United States.
Real Estate in this area ranges from small city parcels in town to properties over 100 acres. Prices range from $200K-$1M +.