Sierra County, California
County of Sierra
Downieville, California, at Main and Commercial St., looking south.jpg
Conifer forest edit.jpg
Stampede Dam.jpeg
Images, from top down, left to right: Downieville, Conifer forest in the Tahoe National Forest, Stampede Dam
Official seal of Sierra County, California
Location in the state of California
Location in the state of California
Country United States
State California
RegionSierra Nevada
Incorporated1852
Named forSierra Nevada
County seatDownieville
Largest cityLoyalton
Government
 • Board of Supervisors
Supervisors[1]
  • Lee Adams
  • Peter W. Hubener
  • Paul Roen
  • Terry LeBlanc
  • Sharon Dryden
 • AssemblymemberMegan Dahle (R)
 • State senatorBrian Dahle (R)
 • U.S. rep.Doug LaMalfa (R)
Area
 • Total962 sq mi (2,490 km2)
 • Land953 sq mi (2,470 km2)
 • Water9 sq mi (20 km2)
Population
 • Total3,236
 • Density3.4/sq mi (1.3/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific Standard Time)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Area code(s)530
Websitewww.sierracounty.ca.gov Edit this at Wikidata

Sierra County is a county located in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2020 census, the population was 3,236, making it California's second-least populous county.[2] The county seat is Downieville,[3] and the only incorporated city is Loyalton. The county is in the Sierra Nevada, northeast of Sacramento on the border with Nevada.

History

Sierra County was formed from parts of Yuba County in 1852. The county derives its name from the Sierra Nevada.

Prior to the California Gold Rush, the area was home to both the Maidu and the Washoe peoples. They generally summered in the higher elevations to hunt and fish, and returned to lower elevations for the winter months.[4] After the discovery of gold in the Sierra foothills sparked the California Gold Rush, more than 16,000 miners settled in Sierra County between 1848 and 1860. Most mining settlements in the county sprung up along the North and Middle Forks of the Yuba River, both of which had rich deposits of gold. While some of the mining boom towns faded away once gold fever died down, other settlements such as Downieville and Sierra City have remained.[5][6]

Notable gold nuggets found in the county include a 26.5 pound specimen, avoirdupois, found by a group of sailors at Sailor Ravine, two miles above Downieville. A 51-pound specimen was found in 1853 by a group of Frenchmen in French Ravine. The 106 pound Monumental Nugget was found in Sept. 1869 at Sierra City.[7]

The Bald Mountain drift mine in Forest City was founded in Aug. 1864, and was the largest of its kind in the state at the time. The Bald Mountain Extension was located in 1874 east of Forest. The Monte Cristo Mine was located in 1854. The largest quartz-mine is the Sierra Buttes Gold Mine was located in 1850 near Sierra City. The Gold Bluff Mine was located near Downieville in 1854. By 1880 the county was "crushing" 70,000 tons of quartz and had 266 miles of mining ditches.[7]

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 962 square miles (2,490 km2), of which 953 square miles (2,470 km2) is land and 9.0 square miles (23 km2) (0.9%) is water.[8]

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Politics and government

Because Loyalton is Sierra County's most populous municipality and its only incorporated city, generally half of the meetings of the county's board of supervisors are held in Downieville and the other half are held in Loyalton.[9] The county is governed by the five-member Sierra County Board of Supervisors, consisting of the following members as of August 2021.[10]

  • District One (Downieville, Goodyears' Bar, Pike, Alleghany): Lee Adams, Chairman
  • District Two (Sierra City, Bassetts, Verdi): Peter W. Huebner
  • District Three (Calpine, Sattley, Sierraville): Paul Roen
  • District Four (Loyalton): Terry LeBlanc
  • District Five (Sierra Brooks): Sharon Dryden

Law enforcement is provided by the Sierra County Sheriff's Department, headed by current Sierra County Sheriff-Coroner Michael "Mike" Fisher. Due to the county's sparse population and geographical obstacles, the Sheriff's Department operates a substation in Loyalton in addition to their main headquarters in Downieville.[11]

Voter registration statistics

Cities by population and voter registration

Overview

Sierra County at one time had favored the Democratic party in Presidential elections and was one of few counties in California to be won by George McGovern. In more recent times it is a strongly Republican county in Presidential and congressional elections. The last Democrat to win a majority in the county was Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Presidential elections results
Sierra County vote
by party in presidential elections
[14]
Year GOP DEM Others
2020 58.7% 1,142 37.5% 730 3.9% 75
2016 56.40% 1,048 32.35% 601 11.25% 209
2012 58.70% 1,056 36.30% 653 5.00% 90
2008 58.16% 1,158 37.32% 743 4.52% 90
2004 64.12% 1,249 33.16% 646 2.72% 53
2000 63.45% 1,172 29.24% 540 7.31% 135
1996 51.38% 877 33.57% 573 15.06% 257
1992 36.85% 691 34.83% 653 28.32% 531
1988 50.71% 860 46.64% 791 2.65% 45
1984 56.86% 1,078 41.19% 781 1.95% 37
1980 49.77% 855 37.89% 651 12.34% 212
1976 43.15% 680 53.36% 841 3.49% 55
1972 47.51% 629 49.70% 658 2.79% 37
1968 45.93% 548 46.86% 559 7.20% 86
1964 33.28% 413 66.72% 828 0.00% 0
1960 46.79% 576 52.56% 647 0.65% 8
1956 50.55% 638 49.13% 620 0.32% 4
1952 53.76% 822 45.65% 698 0.59% 9
1948 43.40% 546 52.46% 660 4.13% 52
1944 39.91% 443 59.64% 662 0.45% 5
1940 32.38% 511 66.98% 1,057 0.63% 10
1936 22.56% 340 76.44% 1,152 1.00% 15
1932 25.46% 292 69.40% 796 5.14% 59
1928 51.52% 457 47.35% 420 1.13% 10
1924 38.93% 276 10.30% 73 50.78% 360
1920 72.18% 506 22.54% 158 5.28% 37
1916 35.36% 360 58.35% 594 6.29% 64
1912 0.86% 10 44.47% 515 54.66% 633[note 2]
1908 55.40% 600 37.86% 410 6.74% 73
1904 65.05% 791 30.92% 376 4.03% 49
1900 60.99% 702 37.88% 436 1.13% 13
1896 56.61% 707 42.19% 527 1.20% 15
1892 57.45% 787 38.61% 529 3.94% 54

On November 4, 2008, Sierra County voted 64.2% for Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.[15]

In the 2009 special statewide election, Sierra County had the highest voter turnout of any county in California, with 53.6% of registered voters participating, according to the Los Angeles Times. The election was nearly double the overall voter turnout in the state, about 23%.[16]

Transportation

There is only one traffic signal (a flashing red light at the intersection of highways 49 and 89) in Sierra County. In the winter of 2007 it was removed after an automobile accident and was replaced in the fall of 2008.[citation needed]

Major highways

County roads

Public transportation

Public transportation in Sierra County is limited to vans run by senior citizen agencies in Downieville and Loyalton which the general public may ride on a space-available basis.[17]

Airport

Sierraville-Dearwater Field Airport is a general aviation airport located near Sierraville.

Crime

The following table includes the number of incidents reported and the rate per 1,000 persons for each type of offense.

Demographics

2015

As of 2015 the largest self-reported ancestry groups in Sierra County, California are:[19]

Largest ancestries (2015) Percent
English England 19.0%
German Germany 18.2%
"American" United States 16.1%
Scottish Scotland 6.4%
Italian Italy 5.9%
Polish Poland 4.6%
Portuguese Portugal 4.0%
Swiss Switzerland 3.6%
Swedish Sweden 3.2%
French France 3.1%

2011

Places by population, race, and income

2010

Historical population
Census Pop.
186011,387
18705,619−50.7%
18806,62317.9%
18905,051−23.7%
19004,017−20.5%
19104,0982.0%
19201,783−56.5%
19302,42235.8%
19403,02524.9%
19502,410−20.3%
19602,247−6.8%
19702,3655.3%
19803,07329.9%
19903,3188.0%
20003,5557.1%
20103,240−8.9%
2019 (est.)3,005[27]−7.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[28]
1790-1960[29] 1900-1990[30]
1990-2000[31] 2010-2015[2]

The 2010 United States Census reported that Sierra County had a population of 3,240. The racial makeup of Sierra County was 3,022 (93.3%) White, 6 (0.2%) African American, 44 (1.4%) Native American, 12 (0.4%) Asian, 2 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 75 (2.3%) from other races, and 79 (2.4%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 269 persons (8.3%).[32]

2000

As of the census[33] of 2000, there were 3,555 people, 1,520 households and 986 families residing in the county. The population density was 4 people per square mile (1/km2). There were 2,202 housing units at an average density of 2 per square mile (1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 94.2% White, 0.2% Black or African American, 1.9% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.0% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Six percent of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Eighteen percent were of English ancestry, 16% were of Irish, 11% German and 8% Italian ancestry.[34] Over ninety-five (95.3) percent spoke English and 3.4% Spanish as their first language.

There were 1,520 households, out of which 27.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.1% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.1% were non-families. 29.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.83.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 23.3% under the age of 18, 4.8% from 18 to 24, 24.0% from 25 to 44, 30.2% from 45 to 64, and 17.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 102.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.9 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $35,827, and the median income for a family was $42,756. Males had a median income of $36,121 versus $30,000 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,815. About 9.0% of families and 11.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.3% of those under age 18 and 2.2% of those age 65 or over.

Media

Sierra County is served by two long-running local newspapers. The Sierra Valley region, which is partially within Sierra County, is served by the Sierra Booster, based in Loyalton. This paper has been published bi-weekly since 1949, when it was established by reporter, miner and airman Hal Wright and his wife Allene.[35] It is today run by their daughter Janice Wright Buck.

The other paper serving the county is the Mountain Messenger, based in Downieville. The Messenger has been in constant publication since 1853, and is currently the longest-running weekly newspaper in the state of California; one of its more notable former contributors was Mark Twain, at the time in hiding from Nevadan authorities and writing under his birth name of Samuel Clemens.[36]

This paper was the center of considerable media attention in early 2020 when its future was uncertain with the retirement of Don Russell, who had owned and operated it for 30 years; it was saved by local retiree Carl Butz, who purchased the paper and runs it today.[37] The paper is printed every Thursday for the Messenger by Feather Publishing Co., based in Quincy, and is distributed across Sierra, eastern Plumas and western Nevada counties.

Education

Communities

City

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Ghost towns

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Sierra County.[38]

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Loyalton City 769
2 Sierra Brooks CDP 478
3 Downieville CDP 282
4 Sierra City CDP 221
5 Calpine CDP 205
6 Sierraville CDP 200
7 Verdi CDP 162
8 Pike CDP 134
9 Goodyears Bar CDP 68
10 Alleghany CDP 58
11 Sattley CDP 49

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b Percentage of registered voters with respect to total population. Percentages of party members with respect to registered voters follow.
  2. ^ The leading “other” candidate, national Progressive and statewide Republican nominee Theodore Roosevelt, received 483 votes, whilst Socialist Party candidate Eugene V. Debs received 133 votes, Prohibition Party candidate Eugene W. Chafin received 13 votes, and various write-in candidates received 14 votes.
  3. ^ Only larceny-theft cases involving property over $400 in value are reported as property crimes.
  4. ^ Other = Some other race + Two or more races
  5. ^ Native American = Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander + American Indian or Alaska Native

References

  1. ^ "Board of Supervisors". County of Sierra. Retrieved August 15, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "2020 Population and Housing State Data". Retrieved August 15, 2021.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ Sierra County History, 2008, The Online Guide to Sierra County, accessed 02 April 2013
  5. ^ "Sierra County, CA - Official Website - Official Website". www.sierracounty.ws. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  6. ^ Sierra Valley, Sierra County History Archived 2012-10-28 at the Wayback Machine, 2012, East Sierra Valley Chamber of Commerce, accessed 02 April 2013
  7. ^ a b Gilbert, Frank; Wells, Harry (1882). Illustrated History of Plumas, Lassen & Sierra Counties, with California from 1513 to 1850. San Francisco: Fariss & Smith. pp. 478–483.
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  9. ^ "Sierra County Government Directory". Retrieved March 5, 2011.
  10. ^ "Board of Supervisors". Sierra County, CA. Sierra County. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
  11. ^ "Sheriff-Coroner". Sierra County, CA. Sierra County. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B02001. U.S. Census website. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q California Secretary of State. February 10, 2013 - Report of Registration Archived July 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  14. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  15. ^ "2008 Initiative General Election Results - Sierra County, CA".
  16. ^ La Ganga, Maria L. (May 22, 2009). "Sierra County (where everyone votes by mail) is serious about elections". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  17. ^ County of Sierra, Calif (April 19, 2006). "Sierra County 2005 Regional Transportation Plan" (PDF). Sierra County 2005 Regional Transportation Plan. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 18, 2006. Retrieved April 1, 2007.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Office of the Attorney General, Department of Justice, State of California. Table 11: Crimes – 2009 Archived 2013-12-02 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  19. ^ Bureau, U.S. Census. "American FactFinder - Results". factfinder.census.gov. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  20. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B03003. U.S. Census website. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  21. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19301. U.S. Census website. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  22. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19013. U.S. Census website. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  23. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19113. U.S. Census website. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  24. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. U.S. Census website. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  25. ^ U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B01003. U.S. Census website. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  26. ^ a b c d e Data unavailable
  27. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  28. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  29. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  30. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  31. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  32. ^ "2010 Census P.L. 94-171 Summary File Data". United States Census Bureau.
  33. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  34. ^ Sierra County, CA ANCESTRY & FAMILY HISTORY Archived 2011-06-09 at the Wayback Machine, 2007, accessed 02 April 2013
  35. ^ "About Us - Sierra Booster". The Sierra Booster.
  36. ^ "The Mountain Messenger - About Us". The Mountain Messenger.
  37. ^ Blackstone, John (February 17, 2020). "Retiree saves California's oldest weekly newspaper from shutting down". CBS News. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
  38. ^ Promotions, Center for New Media and. "US Census Bureau 2010 Census". www.census.gov. Retrieved March 30, 2018.

External links

Coordinates: 39°35′N 120°30′W / 39.59°N 120.50°W / 39.59; -120.50