In the late 1960’s, residents and visitors to the area began realizing the rare qualities of the historic gold mining town were on the verge of disappearing and that Nevada City was suffering the consequences of a failed economy due to the closing of its local gold mines.
At the same time, while a renaissance of live theater, music, literature, art, and storytelling, would ensue, the Nevada City Council, out of economic desperation, narrowly approved the Highway 20/49 expansion that would cut through the heart of Nevada City, destroying its town square. Tearing apart its townspeople as well, Nevada City would lose its official gathering place: a critical nexus for any healthy community.
As the highway cleared a devastating path through the Historic District, more visionary individuals would continue to organize to preserve Nevada City’s historical qualities.
Power lines that cluttered the downtown area were buried and original gaslights were recast and restored along Broad Street and surrounding streets.
The Miners Foundry, now a cultural hub, and Nevada Theater were renovated. The 150 year old brick theater is the oldest theatre building in California and was home to prominent figures such as Mark Twain and famed dancer and adventuress, Lola Montez.
Private restorations of Victorian homes and storefronts continued throughout Nevada City for decades and the result today is a vibrant and historic town that is celebrated for its preservation.
At present, Nevada City’s historic district includes 93 buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This was ultimately due to the vision, planning and hard work of a dedicated community and its leaders.