Timeline

1848      Discovery of gold on the American River, forty miles south of Elster Ranch.

1849      Fall, hundreds of miners spread themselves along the banks of the Middle and South Yuba rivers, many spent the winter in the mountains “eagerly awaiting for the return of spring to open to them the treasure vaults of earth…no thought was there of building a city…yet were they laying the foundation of towns, providing the richness of localities, and pointing out to the merchant soon to follow the places most favorable for business.”

1851      Nevada County created by dividing Yuba County…”looking forward with hope and fortitude.” “Nevada City became the seat of justice…Grass Valley began to acquire considerable prominence…”

1854      National Hotel built…oldest continuously operating hotel west of the Rocky Mountains.

1860      Agriculture expands in support of county mining operations.

1864      Publication of the Grass Valley Daily Morning Union…”Founded in 1864 to Preserve The Union — One and Inseparable.”

1864      Abraham Lincoln easily carries Nevada County in 1864 election.

1865      April 10th, news of end of civil war started a celebration lasting for five days.

1866      Nevada Theater, Mark Twain humorous lectures on missionary experiences in Sandwich Islands…”those that heard him were well satisfied.”

1870      Township 15 north, range 8 east surveyed by James G Mather, U.S. Deputy Surveyor, subsequently to encompass the Patents and acquired holdings of John Elster and Charles Elster.

1880      John and Hettie Elster noted as living off McCourtney Road.

1880      Courts halt hydraulic mining in gold laden foothills.

1882      Black Bart captured after 21 stage coach robberies in Yuba and Nevada Counties.

1886      The most natural beautiful fair site in California, the Nevada County Fairgrounds, dedicated with 70 acres on McCourtney Road.

1890      Orchard planting boom tied to rail transport.

1895      The claim to 160 acres by John C. Elster has been established and duly consummated in conformity of the 1862 Act of Congress, “To Secure Homesteads to Actual Settlers on the Public Domain”, in Township Fifteen North of Range Eight East, Mount Diablo Meridin, on the Nineteenth day of March, 1895, by The President, Gover Cleveland, City of Washington.

1895      Pacific Gas and Electric formed in meeting at National Hotel.

1899      Charles Elster…son of John Casper and Hettie Kingsley Elster who live on their family ranch at the end of Elster Place off McCourtney Road…marries Lois Loney…after the death of his parents. Charles operated the ranch until his retirement in 1937.

1900      Lowell Elster born…just six days after giving birth to her first child, Lois Elster…dies of complications from the birth…a good and noble woman has gone to her long rest. Mrs. Elster was a native of Nevada County and was aged about 25 years.

1900      Number of ranches in California reaches 72,000.

1904      Benjamin Holt develops first crawler tractor.

1905      Julia Morgan designed North Star House, near the Nevada County Fairgrounds, built by A. D. and Mary Hallet Foote, setting for Wallace Stegner’s classic novel, “Angle of Repose.”

1907      Twenty-ninth day of June, the claim of Charles Elster has been established and duly consummated in conformity to law…containing forty acres…By The President, Theodore Roosevelt.

1912       University of California encourages formation of Boys and Girls Agriculture Clubs.

1917      The Emergency Food Production Act, “food for victory,” created during WW I.

1917      Nevada County Cooperative Extension established to help all segments of the community benefit from the scientific advances in our nation’s land grant universities, particularly in the areas of agriculture, family and consumer sciences, and youth development.

1921      Nevada County Farm Bureau forms an Irrigation Committee, forerunner of Nevada Irrigation District to provide a dependable, quality water supply; continue to be good stewards of the watersheds, while conserving the available resources in our care.

1927      NID delivers irrigation water to farms at 10¢ per day.

1928      “4-H” name first used, head-heart-hands-health.

1929      Gold mines insulate Grass Valley from economic panic.

1935      California number of farms 150,360, all-time high.

1936      First twine tie hay baler marketed.

1943      California has one million vegetable gardens.

1945      Local lore has it that the Empire Mine is America’s funding source for WW II.

1950      A decade where agriculture turns to mechanization and specialization.

1953      Litton Industries, vacuum tube manufacturing pioneer, moves to Grass Valley from San Francisco.

1956      Minimum wage set at $1.00 per hour.

1957      Empire Mine closes, end of an era, starting a period of stagnation. In existence for more than 100 years, the mine produced 5.6 million ounces of gold before it closed in 1956. (5.6 million ounces of gold is equivalent to a box seven feet long, seven feet high, and seven feet deep filled with gold.)

1959      Grass Valley Group founded to develop and produce technologies for the video and broadcast industry…eventually garnering 20 Engineering Emmy Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

1960      Number of farms decrease by 50%.

1965      California Conservation Act encourages agriculture preserves.

1970      April 22, Earth Day, birth of the modern environmental movement featuring Aldo Leopold’s powerful essay “The Land Ethic.”

1975      90% of California population lives in urban areas.

1975      Father’s Day Blue Grass Festival inaugurated at Nevada County Fairgrounds.

1978      KVMR signed on air July 14th, operating under the umbrella of the Nevada City-based non-profit, the American Victoria Museum. Deriving its name from the Victoria Museum Radio.

1981      Music in the Mountains debuted

1986      Slow Food movement started in Italy to preserve fine foods from extinction.

1987      Sustainable Agriculture Program initiated by UC Extensions.

1990      Bear Yuba Land Trust formed to preserve local farms, ranches, meadows and forests while recognizing that smart growth is important to economic vitality of the region.

1996      Celtic Music Festival at Nevada County Fairgrounds.

1997      Lowell Elster dies at age 96 years and 7 months. He lived on the family ranch, and was the assessor for the Nevada Irrigation District. After retirement Lowell worked construction, hired himself out with a backhoe until he was 87 years old, while maintaining the ranch. Lowell’s activity on the ranch is succeeded by his two children.

2001      Center for the Arts incorporated as 501 (c)3.

2006      Elster Ranch’s one hundred twenty plus year ownership transitions from the Elster to the Nolte family to continue the heritage of being a good steward of the land, honoring its history, and enhancing its place in the community through efforts to learn, build, and share a land ethic.

2016      98th annual Nevada County Farm Bureau dinner.