Geography - Grass Valley is located at 39°13'9?N,
121°3'30?W. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total
area of 10.6 km² (4.1 mi²). Grass Valley is at the intersection of Hwy 49 and
Hwy 20 (in California).
Public transportation is limited to the city limits.
Demographics - As of 2010 the United States Census
reported that Grass Valley had a population of 12,860. The population density
was 2,711.3 people per square mile (1,046.8/km²). The racial makeup of Grass
Valley was 11,493 (89.4%) White, 208 (1.6%) Native American, 188 (1.5%) Asian,
46 (0.4%) African American, 9 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 419 (3.3%) from other
races, and 497 (3.9%) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race
were 1,341 persons (10.4%). The census reported that 12,401 people (96.4% of the
population) lived in households, 118 (0.9%) lived in non-institutionalized group
quarters, and 341 (2.7%) were institutionalized. Grass Valley also has a strong
connection to Cornish culture and ancestry, since many people from Cornwall
in South-West England emigrated here in the 18th and 19th centuries. Out
of the 5,016 households, 46.6% were non-families, 39.1% of all households
were made up of individuals, 32.4% were married couples living together,
26.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 20.3% had someone
living alone who was 65 years of age or older, and 16.3% had a female householder
with no husband present The average household size was 2.13 and the average
family size was 2.80 people. The ages of the population were: under age
18: 23.3%, ages 18 to 24: 9.3%, ages 25 to 44: 25.1%, ages 45 to 64: 20.3%,
age 65 and older: 22.0%. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females
there were 81.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were
75.1 males. The median income were: $28,182 for a household in Grass
Valley, $33,220 for a family, $32,568 for males, $21,915 for females.
History - Grass Valley dates from the California Gold Rush, as
does nearby Nevada City. It is the location of the Empire Mine, one of
the richest mines in California. Many of those who came to settle in Grass
Valley were tin miners from Cornwall. They were attracted to the California
gold fields because the same skills needed for deep tin mining were needed
for hardrock (deep) gold mining. Many of them specialized in pumping the
water out of very deep mining shafts. This coincided with a glut in Cornish
tin mining. Grass Valley still holds on to its Cornish heritage, with events
such as its annual Cornish Christmas celebration. Pasties are a local favorite
dish with a few restaurants in town specializing in recipes handed down
from the original
Notable residents, both past and present
Hunter Burgan bassist of the band AFI
Lotta Crabtree 19th century actress
Jonathan Dayton director Little Miss Sunshine
Lyman Gilmore became the first person to fly a powered airplane (a
steam-powered glider). Lyman Gilmore Middle
School is located in Grass Valley and listed as a Historical site.
Bill Hotchkiss, poet and novelist, author of Medicine Calf, based
on the life of Jim Beckwourth.
Lola Montez 19th century dancer
Hans Ostrom, writer and professor.
Jim Pagliaroni, former professional baseball player, catcher of a
perfect game pitched by Jim "Catfish" Hunter
John Rollin Ridge (1827-1867), Native American writer, is buried
in Grass Valley.
Josiah Royce philosopher
Chris Senn professional skateboarder
Jeremy Sisto actor (born in Grass Valley)
Wallace Stegner (1903-1993) set his Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel
Angle of Repose (1971) in Grass Valley.
John Thomson author
Jim Tucker, a guitarist for the group, The Turtles.
Chuck Yeager the ace fighter pilot
Economy - The combined communities of Grass Valley and Nevada City
have a fairly diversified economy. The gold rush days left a historical legacy
and today, tourism and the related services sector are considered to constitute
the bulk of the local economy. Many of those who do not commute to the
Sacramento Valley, work locally in retail, wholesale, trade, engineering,
manufacturing, construction, and other businesses, as well in various levels of
local and state government. A significant number of high-tech electronics
companies are in the area.
Another significant sector of the local economy is the agriculture industry, as
the soil in Nevada County is considered to be quite fertile. Around the time the
areas were being settled during the Gold Rush, farmers planted orchards,
vegetables, and other produce as ranchers brought in cattle, sheep, and other
livestock. While the percentage of land dedicated to agriculture has
significantly decreased over the last few decades, agriculture continues to be
an important aspect of the areas economy including local produce and organic
agricultural products. During the past decade, Nevada County has become known
for its growing wine industry.
Commercial employers in Grass Valley include Raley's, Safeway, K-Mart,
Starbucks, GNC, Jamba Juice, JC Penny, and BriarPatch, as well as fast-food
chain restaurants. Other major employers include Nevada Union High School,
Nevada Irrigation District, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, and other various