The Yuba County Museum of History is a Non-Profit 501(c)3 Public Benefit Corporation. Copyright 2009-2012 Yuba County Museum of History

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-track faculty. He practiced law in San Francisco for over 25 years. He is the founder and director of the Chinese American Museum of Northern California.

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.

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Smartsville and Timbuctoo (California State Landmark Nos. 321 & 320) are essentially one place with two names. As worked-out claims and floods forced placer forty-niners up from the sandbars into the hills above the Yuba River, and as word spread around the world about gold in the California hills, towns and communities formed. The Smartsville and Timbuctoo area was once the most populated place in eastern Yuba County. Black Bart, Jim “The Timbuctoo Terror” Webster, and other desperadoes haunted the local roads. Eventually fires, worked-out diggings, and the Sawyer Decision succeeded in driving out all but the most dedicated residents. Neither town, though, is ready yet for the dustbin of history; the population might once again explode – this time not with gold seekers but with long-distance commuters, turning the former boomtowns into future bedroom communities.

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.

Powerhouses of the Sierra Nevada      # 547572

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.



Marysville’s Chinatown                    # 559766

Wheatland                                         # 569772