Marysville’s Chinatown was once one of the most important Chinatowns in America. The early Chinese settlers called Marysville Sanfow, or “the third city”, meaning the third city by river to the goldfields. Two of the first four Chinese American judges in California were from Marysville as was the first Chinese American elected to the San Francisco Board of Education. The Marysville Chinatown was among the first Chinatowns built in California’s Gold Country and is the only one to survive to this day.
Author Brian Tom was born and raised in Marysville. He is the founder of the Asian
American Studies Program at the University of California, Davis – one of the first
AAS programs in the country. He wrote the AAS proposal, taught three of the first
five classes, and hired the first tenure-
Lawrence Tom was born in Marysville’s Chinatown. He was the comptroller for the California State Department of Transportation and is the tour director for the Chinese American Museum of Northern California.
Smartsville and Timbuctoo (California State Landmark Nos. 321 & 320) are essentially
one place with two names. As worked-
Authors Kathleen Smith and Lane Parker have collected images and stories from numerous Northern California libraries, museums, archives, and from local residents and historians to reconstruct the past of this unique place. Smith has genealogical ties to Smartsville and Timbuctoo. Parker has been researching Timbuctoo since 2005.
The Yuba and Feather Rivers flank a rugged portion of the Sierra Nevada as they rush south. Gold in creeks and streams here attracted thousands of treasure hunters who panned, dug, or scoured the hills with hydraulic jets of water. At the height of the rush, mule teams loaded with supplies and stagecoaches filled with miners passed through every few minutes, heading from Marysville or Oroville to the high Sierra camps. Thriving towns sprang up along the way, one boasting five hotels and seven saloons. Later others came to log the massive pine and fir or make their home in a land they valued for its beauty. Ten towns survive today: La Porte, Oregon House, Rackerby, Strawberry Valley, and Woodleaf. Although siblings at birth, over the last 150 years, each has developed a unique character and charm.
Historian and publications editor Rosemarie Mossinger, author of several other books including Woodleaf Legacy: The Story of a California Gold Rush Town, is the director of the Yuba Feather Museum in Forbestown. Drawing from public and private collections, as well as the museum’s extensive archives, she carefully selects and annotates the photographic treasures that document this scenic and historic region.