Introducing Grass Valley
Grass Valley is where area residents buy groceries, service their cars and get their pets groomed. Its historic business district, while still intact and flush with nice stores, is an island amid a sprawl of strip malls, gas stations and fast-food restaurants - it’s well worth fording the abyss to soak up the feel of the center.
Grass Valley’s mines - notably George Bourne’s Empire Mine - were among the first shaft mines in California. They showed mine owners and investors that, with promotion of a company’s stock and the use of large-scale operations, there were big bucks to be made in lode mining. The Empire Mine was the first mining company to sell stock. The hills around here were the source of some of the largest finds of gold in the state.
Grass Valley’s main thoroughfares of Mill St and W Main St are the heart of the historic business district, which boasts an old-time movie theater, cafés, bars and more. E Main St goes north to the shopping centers and mini-malls, continuing north into Nevada City, while S Auburn St divides E and W Main St.
On Friday nights in July and August, Mill St is closed to car traffic while farmstead food, arts and crafts, and music entertain people in the street.