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Filmed almost entirely in Nevada
Old Town Auburn stars along
Vibrant and captivating Nevada City
 Grass Valley was named
Nevada County is webbed with
Everything in Placer County history
Breathtaking new photography and ideas
California's Gold Rush County vividly
By 1858, more than 600,000
Derived from David Durham's definitive

Find out more about the Sierra Foothills Gold Country of Northern California. Below are a selection of films made in the area and books about Gold Country Mother Lode areas. Click on the images to learn more.


The Christmas Card", filmed almost entirely in Nevada City in actual, named locations (such as dinner in the romantic Citronée restaurant, to name just one), this film will make anyone who sees it dream of living here. The Nevada City area is uniquely unspoiled and beautiful, the architecture is cozy and quaint, and most people don't believe fairytale towns like this exist any more. If you are considering moving to the foothills, this 2006 film will give you a very good idea of what living here might be like. The film's plot is sweet and old-fashioned, even a bit corny by today's standards,but still very enjoyable. As described on “Once in a while, a movie comes along that reminds us how powerful love can be. In the midst of war in Afghanistan, Captain Cody Cullen (John Newton, "Desperate Housewives") is touched by lovely card sent by Faith Spelman (Alice Evans, "The Chris Isaak Show") from the small picturesque town of Nevada City, California. As months pass, the card never leaves his side, giving him the strength to survive and setting him on a mission to find her. The Christmas Card has received massive critical acclaim and audiences are raving.”

"Phenomenon", starring John Travolta, Forrest Whittacker, Kyra Sedgewick. Old Town Auburn stars along with John Travolta is this 1997 film. Although business names were changed and Travolta's garage was a film set created in the square right in front of the old post office, this area still looks pretty much like it does in the film. Although a bit of the film was shot in other areas, a great deal of it is right here in Auburn's Old describes the film: “Travolta plays a mechanic who sees a bright light in the sky one night and wakes up the next morning a genius, hungry for knowledge and so smart he figures out national defense secrets in his own living room (and gets in hot water for it). The more interesting drama, however, is not with the government but with the character's longtime neighbors and friends, who come to reject him for being different. Robert Duvall gives a stirring performance as a doctor who has known the hero all his life, and Kyra Sedgwick is very good as an ambivalent love interest.”

Nevada City (Images of America) by Maria E. Brower: Vibrant and captivating Nevada City began as a gold-mining camp called Deer Creek Dry Diggins. The large gravel deposits alongside this creek reportedly delivered a pound of pay dirt a day by the fall of 1849, when A. B. Caldwell’s general store opened to supply this haphazard collection of tents. By March 1850, somewhere between 6,000 and 16,000 boisterous souls called it home, and the new town was christened “Nevada,” meaning “snow covered” in Spanish. After 1861, townsfolk took to adding “City” to the name, to avoid confusion with the new state whose Comstock silver strike drained off many Nevada City residents.Seven fires burned early Nevada City to the ground, sparking a fashion for brick architecture that is evident in many of the 93 downtown structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places.The pictorial saga of Nevada City, a town that once rivaled San Francisco and Sacramento, but which now reigns as the antique and still-sparkling gem of the California Mother Lode.

Grass Valley (Images of America) by Claudine Chalmers Grass Valley was named for its spring-fed meadows, but its history springs from deep below the soil. An immeasurable wealth of gold lay in ancient river courses, embedded in quartz, or scattered capriciously in surface gravel. Vibrantly entrepreneurial since its inception, Grass Valley echoed with the roar of stamp mills crushing gold-bearing quartz 24 hours a day, every day, for decades. Its mines produced $350 million, and millions more are thought to be buried beneath the modern city. Grass Valley's wealth drew flamboyant stars like Lola Montez and gold-camp-urchin-turned-star Lotta Crabtree. It was here that philosopher Josiah Royce was born and Cherokee writer Yellow Bird (John Rollin Ridge) lived his final days. Grass Valley was often the subject of Alonzo Delano's tales of the gold rush, and more recently, it was the setting and inspiration for Wallace Stegner's best seller Angle of Repose.

Gold Rush Towns of Nevada County (Images of America) by Maria E. Brower Nevada County is webbed with some of the richest veins of goldbearing quartz in the world. First discovered in 1849 as placer gold washed into creek beds, hydraulic miners later used massive jets of water to melt mountains and free the precious metal. Rich lodegold districts such as Grass Valley and Nevada City were the most productive in California, and innovations such as hydraulic mining began here and spread throughout the nation. Whimsical names like You Bet, Red Dog, Rough and Ready, French Corral, and Blue Tent hint at the colorful beginnings of dozens of camps that grew from wild and chaotic tent towns to bustling young communities, complete with schools, churches, and businesses. Boomtowns North San Juan, North Bloomfield, and Columbia propelled Nevada County to the head of the state's economy by 1900 and hundreds of miles of gold-bearing quartz veins continued to be tapped in underground tunnels for another 50 years or more.

Mining Camps of Placer County (Images of America) by Carmel Berry-Schweyer & Alycia S. Alvarez Everything in Placer County history leads to gold, from its name—the Spanish term for gold-bearing gravel—to the mining camps that sprouted overnight in its rugged river canyons. Ecstatic cries of “Gold on the American River!” in 1848 launched the largest voluntary migration in the history of the world. As claims “panned out,” thousands of miners swarmed like locusts between the rough-and-tumble mining camps, from the crest of the Sierra Nevada to the Sacramento Valley. Some camps disappeared along with the easy placer gold; others found new methods to extract gold deposited deep in quartz veins or underground and developed into stable towns that still stand. Sometimes washing whole hillsides into rivers, hydraulic mining was outlawed in the 1880s, but the colorful characters and tall tales of the Gold Rush live on.

Luminous Mountains: The Sierra Nevada of California by Tim Palmer (Photographer) Breathtaking new photography and ideas explore the Range of Light An extraordinary mountain range, the Sierra Nevada rises high over California. In Luminous Mountains, award-winning author and photographer Tim Palmer captures the dazzling variety and enchantment of this revered and exquisite place, revealing the essence of the Sierra in a way that has never been done before, from its northern limit to its southernmost slope, from its rolling foothills in the west to its dramatic fault line at desert s edge. With 135 stunning photographs and engaging text, Palmer guides us through the stormy white depths of winter and into ancient green forests suffused with life. With knowledge gleaned from decades of experience, he writes of the intricate workings of nature and also the conflicts inherent in the booming growth of the nation s most populous state. In all months of the year he shows us unmatched images of wonder from icons of scenery such as Yosemite s El Capitan, Devils Postpile, Lake Tahoe, and Mount Whitney, to remote and secret enclaves amid the peaks and the canyons. Born of an intimate relationship wi nature, Luminous Mountains is a spirited journey of discovery up the peaks and down the rivers of the great Sierra Nevada.

California's Gold Rush Country: A Guide to the Best of the Mother Lode by Barbara Braasch California's Gold Rush County vividly portrays the region's past and present. it is a must for first time visitors and those familiar with its historical, cultural and natural attributes. You can explore California's Gold Rush Country with this comprehensive guide to historic sites, lodging and dining, shopping and recreational opportunities. From assay offices to tailing wheels, antique fairs and wine tours, this book is packed with travel tips.

Traveling California's Gold Rush Country by Leslie A. Kelly By 1858, more than 600,000 women and children from as far away as China and Australia had become part of California's Gold Rush. Nearly 150 years later, nuggets of gold fever can still be found in California's Gold Rush country, sparkling across 600 miles--from Mariposa County in the Sierra Nevada to Humboldt County on the Pacific Ocean. Detailed maps, historical anecdotes, and gold-panning tips make this book an ideal travel partner, whether you have one day or one month to explore this area's feverish past. Part of the area's allure lies in the fact that the Mother Lode (a 100-mile-long vein of gold-bearing quartz believed to be buried somewhere in the Sierra Nevada) has never been found. In 1849, 90,000 miners arrived in California with dreams of striking it rich. Today, in towns such as Sonora, Sutter Creek, and Placerville near the Sierra Nevadas, modern gold-seekers and history buffs can retrace the footsteps of the '49ers. This comprehensive guidebook to the gold rush country shares a wealth of information mined from years of research and the author's extensive travels throughout the region. Featuring complete descriptions and accurate directions to historic sites, historic inns, and fine dining.

Durham's Place-Names of California's Gold Country by David L. Durham Derived from David Durham's definitive gazetteer of California, this book defines the area's geographical features including topographical features such as ridges, peaks, canyons and valley; water such as streams, lakes, waterfalls and springs; and cultural features such as cities, towns, crossroads and railroad sidings. Many entries include information about who named the feature, when and why, as well as alternate or obsolete names. All give longitude and latitude of the feature. Great for use with GPS devices! Perfect for park and forestry rangers, natural history buffs, real estate offices and media news desks. Includes Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Sierra, Amador, Calavaras, and Mariposa Counties.

Copyright © 2021  Sierra
Durham's Place Names of California's
Traveling California's Gold Rush Country
California's Gold Rush Country by
Luminous Mountains by Tim Palmer
Mining Camps of Placer County
Gold Rush Towns of Nevada
Grass Valley (Images of America)
More books and films about
The Christmas Card
Nevada City (Images of America)