Smartsville Church Restoration Fund a 501(c)3 nonprofit

Rose’s Bar, or Rose Bar as it is sometimes called, became a small community at the edge of the Yuba River approximately due north of the present town of Smartsville.  After several winters with high water in the river, the Rose Bar inhabitants realized that they would have to relocate to higher ground.

 A second community was established in proximity to Rose Bar,  called Sucker Flat. Not long afterward, hydraulic mining began in the area it became a company town to serve the hydraulic mine workers.

At about the same time, close observers noticed that there was a prehistoric river channel in the rolling hills south of Rose Bar, and that those gravels above the elevation of the present river also contained gold. Mining was already being conducted up creeks and in the ravines and so Timbuctoo became the next center of business for the miners.It quickly became a bustling place. with hotels and saloons and all the necessary services.

When gold was discovered on the American River at Sutter’s mill site in 1848, a similar discovery was made shortly thereafter on the Yuba River by a man named Jonas Spect.  From placer mining at Parks Bar, miners moved upstream to a place called Rose’s Bar, named after John Rose who established there, with two other men, a store to supply the miners.

Because tail water from hydraulic mining containing mud, sand and gravel found its way into the Yuba River, and because similar hydraulic mining adjacent to the river was accumulating downstream, hydraulic mining debris was prohibited from entering the streams, the beginning of the end of this mining practice and threatened the existence of the towns of Timbuctoo and Sucker Flat.

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Due to changing structure of the mining business, capitalists investing and management staff and their families a third new town formed shortly thereafter named Smartsville.The new town of Smartsville, named after James Smart who built the first hotel there became the new home to the hotels churches and schools. As Smartsville grew Timbuctoo declined. Smartsville was what we would now consider the gentrification of the gold rush boom town.

SCRFI Vice President Kathleen Smith and her literary partner Lane Parker have authored a book, Smartsville and Timbuctoo, published by Arcadia  in their Images of America series.  Their book is packed with historical and pictorial information and has become a keepsake for many local history buffs.  It is available from this website.

Smartsville, being on the stage coach route from Marysville to the higher elevation mining towns in Nevada County, somehow survived the demise of hydraulic mining.  The population of the town began to decrease and today Smartsville has a population of perhaps 200, maybe even less.

Area History