- Donner Memorial State Park
- Donner Summit Historical Society
- Doris Foley Library for Historical Research
- Empire Mine State Historic Park
- Friends of the Nevada County Libraries
- Friends of the Truckee Library
- Grass Valley Library (Royce Branch)
- Madelyn Helling Library – Nevada County Library
- Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
- Miners Foundry Cultural Center
- Museum of Ancient and Modern Art
- Nevada City Chamber of Commerce
- Nevada County Historical Society
- Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum
- Saint Joseph’s Cultural Center
- South Yuba River State Park
- Squaw Valley Ski Museum Foundation
- Truckee-Donner Historical Society
- Truckee Library
- Western America SkiSport Museum
Photo Gallery (.mov)
Phone: (530) 582-7892
Located in the beautiful Sierra Nevada, Donner Memorial State Park offers the summer vacationer opportunities for camping, picnicking, boating, fishing, water-skiing, and hiking. In winter, visitors can cross-country ski and snowshoe on trails and enjoy the season's beauty. Visitors are welcome year-round at the Emigrant Trail Museum and at the Pioneer Monument, built to commemorate those who immigrated to California from the east in the mid-1800's.
Included in the museum are displays and information about one of the earliest pioneer wagon trains, the Donner Party, forced by circumstances to camp at the east end of Donner Lake in the winter of 1846-47, resulting in human suffering and loss of life.
Donner Summit is a fascinating place for lots of reasons but especially historically. Humans have visited it for thousands of years. It is the site of the first transcontinental highway (the Lincoln Highway) and the first transcontinental railroad. It has been a hive of activities including many different industries: agriculture, sawmills, forestry, mink farming, ice harvesting, dairy cattle, railroading, highway maintenance, tourism, and the ski industry. The rescued members of the Donner Party crossed Donner Summit right at the Summit.
It is because of the fascinating history and stories that the Donner Summit Historical Society was formed. The purpose "is to offer lectures, seminars, and field trips that will help the community learn the history of Donner Summit and the surrounding area, and to collect and display artifacts relative to the history, and to carry on other educational and charitable activities associated with this purpose" (from our articles of incorporation, December, 2007).
A highlight of the programs of the Donner Summit Historical Society is the "20 Mile Museum" located along old Highway 40 at Donner Summit. Sprinkled along the route are informational signs about many aspects of Donner Summit history.
211 North Pine Street
Nevada City, CA 95959
Phone: (530) 265-4606
Part of the Nevada County Library system, the Doris Foley Library is a reference and research library only. All materials are library-use only, though many of our books are available at other branches to check out.
Resources available at the Doris Foley Library for Historical Research include: census data; directories and phone books; genealogy information; indexes (cemeteries, Kitt's; mining; naturalizations; marriage, birth, death records; maps; militia; probate, etc.); Maps; Mining collection; Mortuary records; Nevada County Histories; newspapers; probate records; tax records; vital records and voter registries.
10787 Empire Street
Grass Valley, CA 95945
Phone: (530) 273-8522
The Empire Mine is the site of the oldest, largest, and richest gold mine in California. From 1850 to its closing in 1956, it produced 5.8 million ounces of gold. These 5.8 million ounces of gold would fill a box seven feet on each side. It is estimated that this represented only 20% of the available gold...80% remains.
The Park contains many of the original mine buildings, the owner’s cottage and the restored gardens and grounds as well as the entrance to 367 miles (the equivalent of a round trip from Grass Valley to San Jose) of abandoned and flooded shafts and tunnels. The park consists of 845 acres of forested backcountry and twelve miles of trails for hikers, bikers and horseback riders.
The mission of the Friends of Nevada County Libraries, a non-profit organization, is to focus community attention on the continuing value of, and necessity for, a public library system as a cultural, educational, and recreational asset.
The Friends of the Truckee Library is an incorporated, non-profit, grassroots organization dedicated to promoting our library as an essential institution of society. Our members advocate, educate, and raise funds on behalf of the library, its patrons, and the entire Truckee community. We are a dedicated group of active volunteers that have spent decades devoted to growing and sustaining the Truckee Library.
207 Mill Street
Grass Valley, CA 95945
Phone: (530) 273-4117
Part of the Nevada County Library system, this branch is located in downtown Grass Valley at the site of the birthplace of Josiah Royce, prominent 19th century philosopher. The building is a Carnegie Library structure, built in the early 20rh century.
980 Helling Way
Nevada City, CA 95959
Phone: (530) 265-7050
The main Nevada County Library, it is named in honor of Nevada City community leader and retired Nevada County Librarian Madelyn Helling, who retired in 1991 after serving for 17 years as county librarian. Her contributions were such that Nevada County Supervisors named the new library in her honor. More recently, she has served as an officer and president of the Nevada County Historical Society and was a co-founder of the society's Transportation Museum Division that built the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in Nevada City.
Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, is located 26 miles northeast of Nevada City, California. It was created in 1965, by concerned citizens, to preserve the exciting and controversial story of our country's largest hydraulic gold mining operation that devastated the area from the mid-1800s.
The park comprises approximately 3,200 acres of majestic pines, cedars and oaks between 2,500' and 4,000' elevation in the northern Sierra Nevada foothills region. Overnight visitors can choose between a shady, restful campsite in Chute Hill campground, or a rustic "Miner Cabin." The group campsite accommodates up to 60 people.
In the mid-1800s, this building of native timber and stone served the needs of California gold miners. Today it is a one-of-a-kind event venue for groups large and small. Located in the heart of downtown Nevada City, California, Miners Foundry retains the character of gold rush days with its roughhewn beams, heavy metal doors, antique fixtures and furnishings.
P.O. Box 975
Penn Valley, CA 95946
Phone: (530) 432-3080
The Museum of Ancient and Modern Art is a multi-faceted museum tucked away in the Sierra foothills. Under the imaginative and creative guidance of a dynamic staff of volunteers, it is meeting the challenges of the twenty-first century with success and self-assurance. MAMA is a tax-exempt non-profit educational organization that has been incorporated since 1981. The assembly of its diversified collection began almost twenty-five years ago.
The Museum has so far operated exclusively from its own fund-raising efforts without the benefit of Federal or State funding. The Museum of Ancient and Modern Art is dedicated first and foremost to educating the public through a variety of services and programs, and second only to assembling a first rate collection of works of art worthy of preservation for posterity.
132 Main Street
Nevada City, CA 95959
Phone: (916) 265-2692
P.O. Box 1300
Nevada City, CA, 95959
The Nevada County Historical Society had its beginning in the fall of 1944 after being inspired by Dr. Robert E. Burns, President of the College of the Pacific. Dr. Burns was interested in the preservation of the history of the Mother Lode and gold country, and he spoke to the Grass Valley Lions Club about organizing a county historical society. Soon afterwards another meeting was held for more people who were interested, after which a constitution and by-laws were adopted.
The object of the new organization as stated in its constitution was to preserve every source of Nevada County history. The new society began with 48 members, and dues were a dollar a year! Monthly programs were planned to entertain and educate members, and the committee chairmen and groups formed the foundation of the society by collecting, displaying, and preserving the memorabilia of the county.
The Firehouse Museum in Nevada City, the Mining Museum in Grass Valley, and Searls Library in Nevada City were opened to locals and tourists alike. The Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum opened in Nevada City during May 2003.
P.O. Box 2392
Nevada City, CA 95959
Phone: (530) 470-0902
Located in Nevada City, California, the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum is dedicated to the preservation of local transportation history and artifacts from the narrow gauge railroad era.
In addition to the railroad, this Sierra foothills county boasted such turn-of-the 20th century transportation as an electric streetcar line, a steam powered automobile, and the first commercial airport in the United States.
St. Joseph's Cultural Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving a historic landmark for cultural activities in the community. It is owned and operated by the Historic Mt. St. Mary's Preservation Committee. The building was completed in 1866 by members of the local community as a convent for the Sisters of Mercy.
Originally the Sisters moved here to teach the local children, but soon they were inundated with children orphaned by mining accidents. The Sisters then had several dormitories built for the orphans. Being the only orphanage in Northern California, children came from as far away as southern Oregon and Western Nevada. By the 1890s there were over 400 orphans and 60 nuns. The nuns housed, clothed, fed and educated the orphans until the 1950s.
After the nuns left in the late 1960s, a group of concerned citizens took possession to preserve the building. In the early 1970s the group received non-profit status and later State of California Historic Landmark status as well as listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Currently, in addition to the Grass Valley Museum, the Cultural Center features 13 artist studios, Moving Ground dance studio, Earth Planet Museum, the historic rose gardens, and St. Joseph's Hall.
St. Joseph's Hall, built in 1894, is available for weddings, receptions, concerts, parties, business meetings, workshops, and recitals. The historic rose gardens have over 100 rose bushes, some over 100 years old, crepe myrtle trees, three kinds of Holly trees, the only palm trees in Grass Valley, and other flowering plants and trees.
17660 Pleasant Valley Road
Penn Valley, CA 95946
Phone: (530) 432-2546, ranger office
(530) 273-3884, sector office
This 20-mile portion of the South Yuba River canyon stretches from Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park to Bridgeport covered bridge. The area includes the longest single-span covered bridge in the world, the steep rugged canyon of the South Yuba River, and the Independence Trail—the first identified wheelchair-accessible wilderness trail in the country.
South Yuba River State Park offers many scenic vistas. Visitors can view fast water pouring over massive granite ledges in the spring and warm, slow moving emerald swimming holes during the late summer.
The Squaw Valley Ski Museum Foundation, established in May of 2008, is dedicated to the establishment of the proposed Squaw Valley Olympic Museum and Winter Sports Heritage Center.
The planned Olympic Museum will exhibit one of the great moments in California history by collecting and celebrating the legacy of the VIII Olympic Winter Games. The Winter Sports Heritage Center will feature the Auburn Ski Club's Western SkiSport Museum and will continue to collect, preserve, exhibit and interpret our western skiing heritage beginning with the Gold Rush "Longboards" era to the present. Culturally the Museum will capture the pioneering people and way of life in our Sierra Nevada mountain communities.
TDHS was founded July 24, 1968 to preserve the history of the Truckee-Donner area. The Society operates the Old Jail Museum, which was built in 1875.
Our research historians write articles on the history of Truckee. We have several books on local Truckee history for sale on our Publications page and we also have pictures of the Truckee-Donner area that can be purchased.
10031 Levon Ave.
Truckee, CA 96161
Phone: (530) 582-7846
The Truckee Library is part of the Nevada County Library system.
The collections of the Truckee Library include microfilm of the Truckee Republican from 1868 to 1923. It is not complete but has most of the issues during that time period. The Sierra Sun newspaper is on microfilm for the years 1989-2007. After 2007 the paper was not preserved on microfilm. The newspaper's office in Truckee has archived copies in print format from 1933-1988.
There is also a vertical file of newspaper clippings and various other print material relating to Truckee. It is slightly indexed and we have a copier to make copies of this material that has been collected over the last 20 years or so.
The library also holds the Mother Lode Sanborn Fire Insurance maps of Truckee (and other Nevada County properties) from 1880, 1890 and 1898 on microfilm.
P.O. Box 729
Soda Springs, CA 95728
Phone: (916) 426-3313
Just a stone's throw from Interstate 80 and located next to Boreal Ski Resort is a treasure trove of California ski history. It’s the Western SkiSport Museum.
The Museum was developed as an exhibition of Western North American ski history in 1969. The history of California skiing and legendary mailman, Snowshoe Thompson, who carried a 80-100 pound mailbag on skis over the Sierra Nevada mountains while rescuing stranded miners in raging blizzards are key exhibits.
Featured Exhibits: Auburn Ski Club; Snowshoe Thompson; California Gold Camps and the Longboard skiers; 10th Mountain Division "Ski Troops of World War II"; U.S. Ski Team and Olympic history; Sugar Bowl; Ski Jumpers of the 1930s and 40s; Dodie Post – Olympic skier from Reno, NV; Dick "Maddog" Buek - Legendary skier from Donner Summit; Western Ski Hall of Fame; Jeff Hamilton – Auburn Ski Club skier, 150 MPH world record speed skier, 1992 Olympic Bronze medalist; Roy Mikkelsen – Auburn Ski Club jumper and Olympic ski jumper in 1936; Ski Movies dating from 1919.