Beale AFB Community
Other Area Attractions
Just 45 miles south of Beale is Sacramento, California’s capital and the site of many events in the state’s colorful history.
Founded in 1839, Sacramento began to prosper as a colony for Swiss farmers and ranchers brought to the area by Gen. Sutter. The discovery of gold in the area necessitated fast communications with the east, and the Pony Express established its western terminus at Sacramento in 1860. The eastern terminus was St. Joseph, Missouri, and there were 190 relay stations along the route. The fastest trip over the rugged, 1,966-mile course was seven days, 17 hours.
The building of the Central Pacific Railroad over the Sierra Nevada brought still more prosperity to Sacramento.
The city now offers endless outdoor sports, shopping centers, nightclubs, restaurants, cultural events and concerts. Trips to the Sacramento Zoo or to the California statehouse while government business is being conducted are fine ways to spend an afternoon.
The “Pantry of the Northern Mines” is still a rich agricultural area. The restored Bridgeport Bridge — the longest covered bridge in the United States — once saw 50 teams a day of Wells Fargo horses en route to the gold fields. Today, Penn Valley is known for the large rodeo it hosts each year and for its wholesome country lifestyle.
In the fall of 1849, a group from Boston came to Wolf Creek in search of gold. The tiny settlement they founded was called Boston Ravine. Early accounts tell of cattle wandering off to graze in surrounding green meadows, and for a time the area was simply known as the grassy valley.
Little did the settlers realize that a mother lode of riches lay buried beneath their feet, in solid rock.
Incorporated in 1855, Grass Valley suffered a disastrous fire that same year, when flames swept over 30 acres and devoured 300 wood-frame buildings in two hours. The townspeople rebuilt, this time with structures of stone and brick. Many of these buildings are still standing today.
As the gold rush progressed, it attracted experienced miners from Cornwall, England, who developed the techniques of underground mining that made Grass Valley California’s richest gold mining settlement.
Beneath the charming streets of Nevada County’s largest town and commercial hub, more than $960 million in gold was extracted by the Empire, the North Star and other nearby mines. Today, restored miners’ cottages and Victorian homes serve as bed-and-breakfast establishments, a short stroll from the town’s historical landmarks.
The Holbrooke Hotel houses one of the oldest saloons in the state, and its guest register reads like a historical Who’s Who. Four U.S. presidents have visited Grass Valley. They are recognized on a plaque at the Holbrooke. The plaque has extra space for future presidential visits, just in case.
The Music in the Mountains SummerFest showcases a variety of concerts. Other annual events in Grass Valley include the Grass Valley Car Show in April, the Sierra Festival of the Arts in May and the Cornish Christmas Celebration, which starts in late November.
Nevada City sprang into existence on the banks of Deer Creek in that fateful year of 1849. Legend has it that prospectors pulled a pound of gold a day from the creek bed in those heady gold rush days. First known as Deer Creek Dry Diggins and later as Caldwell’s Upper Store, the town took the name Nevada (Spanish for “snow-covered”) upon incorporation in 1850.
Today, the county seat is home to approximately 3,000 people. But its rural ambience rests upon a bedrock of boisterous history. In 1850, the population surpassed 10,000, and in the general election of 1856 the 2,082 ballots cast in Nevada City were topped in California only by Sacramento and San Francisco.
“The Queen City of the Northern Mines” tastefully preserves its colorful mining days and Victorian-era history. Sightseers and photographers are entranced by spectacular spring and fall colors and the beautiful old homes and churches dotting the city’s seven hills.
The gas lamp-lit downtown is a national historic landmark. Unique shops and many restaurants provide a pleasant day’s browsing. Also downtown is the Nevada Theatre. It is the oldest original-use theater in California and offers live theater, movies and special events.
For sports enthusiasts, the Nevada City Bicycle Classic bicycle race is held annually. A sailing regatta is held each summer at Scotts Flat Lake. National Forest campgrounds and trails are nearby along scenic State Highway 20.