Amid Measure Y rancor, let’s revisit Scheer’s column on Nevada City from 1991

The Measure Y debate is getting a bit raucous, in some cases pitting neighbor against neighbor, as I reported earlier. Let’s not forget that the people on both sides mean well and should not be “pigeonholed” for their beliefs.

Without dating myself too much, I was reminded of a wonderful article that longtime progressive columnist Robert Scheer wrote about Nevada City for the Los Angeles Times in 1991, thanks to inspiration and support from longtime residents such as Paul Matson.

Scheer’s column is titled “Nevada City’s citizens restored their mining town for themselves, and the tourists followed.”

His main point about Nevada City’s resurgence: “All of this has been accomplished without undermining the feeling I first had of stepping back into one of California’s most fascinating eras, when the lure of gold brought together the nation’s most adventurous men and women. Restoration, begun in the 1960s, has been accomplished without exploitation, meaning that Nevada City has shunned the cutesy remake of other old California towns (such as obsessively commercial Old Sacramento), which exist solely for tourism and as a result are, after a matter of hours, boring.

“Nevada City, on the other hand, was redesigned first for its inhabitants. Tourism aside, it is culturally alive and productive. Its more Bohemian population is balanced by older folk, some of whom have attended the tiny Methodist church–built in 1864–for most of this century. And there are people of every other stripe. Tourists are welcome too.”

The rest of the article is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

3 thoughts on “Amid Measure Y rancor, let’s revisit Scheer’s column on Nevada City from 1991”

  1. Fascinating article by Robert Scheer. I’d never seen it before. Thanks!

    If I weren’t so familiar with his progressive politics (from his weekly participation in the KCRW podcast, “Left, Right and Center“) I’d suspect him of indulging in the “nostalgia shtick” he seems to eschew.

    He also now has his own program, “Scheer Intelligence,” worth listening to as well.

  2. Maintaining the purity of the Historic District and the mining era is exactly what the City Council in the late 1950’s had decided to accomplish. The City was dying and this is what the City had to offer to attract the tourist trade without creating a total Disneyland circus as other communities were doing in other parts of the State.

    The Hippies of the 1960’s bought the other side, art and music, into being when they came to this area because of it beauty and affordability at that time. Sally Lewis and many other people became involved in the Historical Preservation of our City/County. The State at this time was also very supportive as was the BOS of Historical Preservation. The State with money and the creation of the Office of Historical Preservation (OHP), the County with the creation of Nevada County Historical Landmarks Commission, the local arm of the OHP. The rest is a very interesting history
    of the struggles and the changing dynamics of the times.

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