Among the earliest visitors looking for homes in Grass Valley were former tin miners from Cornwall, England, hoping to use their mining skills at one of the two biggest gold mines in California – the Empire and North Star mines.
Miners flocked to be part of the California gold rush and put down roots in the community that was first called Boston Ravine, and then Centreville, before finally becoming Grass Valley. The miners brought their expertise in hard rock mining and left behind Cornish traditions that are still part of the community more than a century and a half later.
New transplants to the area looking to live in Grass Valley will find that Cornish pastries are still a favorite on the menu at most of the restaurants in this quaint retirement community, 75 miles northeast of Sacramento. Every year, the community still celebrates with a Cornish Christmas celebration, and one of the favorite local holidays is St. Piran’s Day on March 5. St. Piran is the patron saint of Cornwall and has been happily adopted by residents of Grass Valley.
In the legacy of the gold rush, many people who live in Grass Valley find that visitors are attracted to the memory of the miners. Additionally, agriculture in the area became popular at about the same time as the gold rush, leading to a long history of economic stability with a mixed infrastructure. Many residents also commute to the Sacramento Valley for work at one of the many high tech firms in the area.
John LaRosa, PHA Realty Director of Marketing