Marysville, California

Last updated

Ellis Lake, Centerpiece of the city.
Gateway to the Gold Fields
Yuba County California Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Marysville Highlighted.svg
Location in Yuba County and the state of California
Usa edcp relief location map.png
Red pog.svg
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 39°9′N121°35′W / 39.150°N 121.583°W / 39.150; -121.583 Coordinates: 39°9′N121°35′W / 39.150°N 121.583°W / 39.150; -121.583
Country United States
State California
County Yuba
Incorporated February 5, 1843 [1]
   Mayor Ricky Samayoa [2]
   Vice mayor Jim Kitchen [2]
   City manager Marti Brown [2]
  Total3.58 sq mi (9.28 km2)
  Land3.46 sq mi (8.97 km2)
  Water0.12 sq mi (0.31 km2)  3.36%
62 ft (19 m)
(2019) [5]
  Density3,601.62/sq mi (1,390.67/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific)
  Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area code 530
FIPS code 06-46170
GNIS feature IDs 277554, 2411046

Marysville is a city in and the county seat of Yuba County, California, United States, located at the confluence of two rivers which drain the watersheds containing the most productive gold mining region in Northern California. As the depot for the Northern mines it became an important early center of commerce, growing into one of the largest cities in California's first decade of existence, before the gold was all mined. It is one of only 2 cities in California named after a woman who is not a Catholic saint, after a survivor of the Donner Party, which lost half of the people to starvation in the Sierra Nevada during the winter of 1846–47.


As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 12,072, reflecting a decrease of 196 from the 12,268 counted in the 2000 Census. It is included in the Yuba City Metropolitan Statistical Area, often referred to as the Yuba–Sutter area after the two counties, Yuba and Sutter. The metropolitan statistical area is part of the Greater Sacramento area.


Marysville is located on the ancestral land of the Maidu, who occupied the area for 10,000 years prior to the arrival of Jedediah Smith and trappers from the Hudson Bay Company in 1828, who were the first non-natives to explore the area. Spanish and Mexican explorers never reached that far north on the Feather River. In 1842, John Sutter leased part of his Rancho New Helvetia land to Theodore Cordua, a native of Mecklenburg in Germany, who raised livestock, and in 1843 built a home and trading post he called New Mecklenburg. [6] The trading post and home was situated at what would later become the southern end of 'D' Street, Marysville's main street. In 1844, the Mexican government granted Cordua his own land grant, Rancho Honcut.

In 1848, Charles Covillaud, a former employee of Cordua, discovered riches in the gold fields and bought half of the Cordua ranch. In January 1849, Michael C. Nye and William Foster, brothers-in-law of Covillaud's wife, Mary Murphy, a survivor of the Donner Party, bought the other half of the Cordua ranch. They later sold their interest to Covillaud. In October of the same year, Covillaud sold most of the ranch to Jose Ramirez, John Sampson, and Theodore Sicard. During the Gold Rush, the ranch became a stopping point for the riverboats from Sacramento and San Francisco that brought prospectors to the digging grounds. Even today a sign on the roadside as one enters Marysville describes it as the "Gateway to The Gold Fields."

In 1850, Covillaud, Ramirez, Sampson, and Sicard hired Augustus Le Plongeon, a French surveyor, to create a plan for a town called Jubaville, later called Yubaville. [7] Stephen J. Field, a newly relocated attorney, purchased 65 lots of land and drew up proper deeds for land being sold. Then, after just three days in the mining camp, he accepted the nomination to run for alcalde, a Mexican official, which combined the duties of a mayor and justice of the peace, in a new government that was being formed. On January 18, 1850, Field defeated his rival, who had been in town just six days, and a town council was elected. That night, the townsfolk decided to name the new town Marysville after Charles Covillaud's wife, Mary Murphy Covillaud, the former wife of William Johnson of Johnson's Ranch, and one of the surviving members of the Donner Party. [8] After Marysville was incorporated by the new California Legislature, the first mayor was elected in 1851. Field went on to become one of the longest sitting members of the United States Supreme Court. [6]

A post office was established at Marysville in 1851. By 1853, the tent city had been replaced by brick buildings. In addition to the brick merchant buildings, Marysville had developed mills, iron works, factories, machine shops, schools, churches and two daily newspapers. The population was almost 10,000. By 1857, Marysville had become one of the largest cities in California, due to its strategic location. Over $10 million in gold was shipped from the banks in Marysville to the U.S. Mint in San Francisco. The city's founders imagined Marysville becoming "The New York of the Pacific."

However, debris loosed by hydraulic mining above Marysville raised the riverbeds of both the Feather and the Yuba Rivers and rendered the city vulnerable to flooding during winter storms and spring run-offs. The city built a levee system [9] that is still maintained today. The levee system sealed the city off and has made additional city growth virtually impossible; as such the population has not increased much since their construction and Marysville is known as "California's Oldest 'Little' City." The hydraulic mining debris choked the Feather River and soon the riverboats could not make the trip to Marysville.

Marysville was home to a significant Chinese American community beginning in the 1850s. While many Chinese were driven forcibly from their homes throughout California between 1870 and 1900, Marysville became a place of refuge for them and was one of the few Chinatowns in the state that did not experience violence. [10] The Chinese Bok Kai Temple claims to be the oldest continually operating Taoist temple in America, and a Chinese New Year festival has been celebrated in Marysville since 1880. [11]

View of the city of Marysville, 1940 Olivehurst, 2 miles south of Marysville, Yuba County, California. Air view of the city of Marysville . . . - NARA - 521573.jpg
View of the city of Marysville, 1940

There was also an active Jewish merchant community in Marysville from the Gold Rush era through the early years of the twentieth century. Nathan Schneider established Schneider's Clothing in 1862, it was advertised as "the Home of Values", and it existed until the late 1980s. Isaac and Simon Glazier ran the Old Corner Cigar Store from 1851 to 1862, when they moved to San Francisco. J.H. Marcuse founded the Western and Palace Cigar Store. Philip Brown advertised himself as "Marysville's leading tailor, pants made to order from $4.00 up and P. Brown's specialty, White Labor Overall." Union Lumber, established in 1852 by W.K. Hudson and Samuel Harryman, was later purchased by bookkeeper H.J. Cheim, and is still owned by the Cheim family.

In 2010, the Marysville City Council made a controversial decision to sell a portion of Washington Square Park for development of a commercial shopping center, part of an effort to increase tax revenue. This came after the city won a costly legal battle brought on by the Citizens to Preserve Marysville's Parks, a group of citizens opposed to development in the city's green spaces. [12] Subsequently, a mitigation measure to offset the loss of city green space has drawn criticism for using city property which is technically within city limits, but fall outside the city's leevee ring. [13]

Historic sites

The National Register list the following 9 Historic sites and 1 Historic district as cultural resources worthy of preservation. [14] Bok Kai Temple, Decker-Jewett Bank, Ellis Building, Forbes House, Hart Building, Warren P. Miller House: Also known as the "Mary Aaron Museum", Packard Library, Jose Manuel Ramirez House: Also known as "The W.T. Ellis House" or "The Castle", US Post Office - Marysville Main, Marysville Historic Commercial District.

Other sites of historic interest include homes designed by Julia Morgan, Hotel Marysville, and the State Theater.


Marysville is located at 39°08′45″N121°35′29″W / 39.14583°N 121.59139°W / 39.14583; -121.59139 . [15]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2), of which, 3.5 square miles (9.1 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (3.36%) is water.

Flooding has been a major concern for the city for many years.

Marysville is 40 miles north of Sacramento and located in the Sacramento Valley. The city is bordered on the south and east by the Yuba River and the west by the Feather River, with the two rivers converging just southwest of the city. In years of significant snow runoff from the nearby Sierra Nevada range or heavy rain from winter storms, these two rivers pose a serious flooding risk to the city.


Marysville has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csa), which has mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. January is usually the wettest month; July the driest and hottest. The wet season starts from mid-October and ends in mid-April when the region sees frequent rain and is usually under the tule fog. Heavy rain or too much mountain snow from winter storms can cause major flooding in the spring. Snow is rare in the valley, but cold waves from the north bring some light snow and ice. Spring is wet in the beginning but becomes drier and warmer as summer months approach. April is the wettest spring month. May has some rain, but usually from thunderstorms rather than winter storms. Spring orchards and fields become filled with flowers and tree blossoms during this time. June-to-September is the dry and hot season. Rain usually doesn't fall at all, except from very rare southwest monsoon thunderstorms. July and August are the hottest months when temperatures reach the upper 90s. The delta breeze, which comes from the Bay Area on summer nights, helps cool temperatures and add humidity. At times this delta breeze is strong enough to bring coastal fog inland to the Sacramento Valley. Autumn starts out warm but begins to become cooler, wetter, and foggier. From September to mid October temperatures begin to cool down rapidly bringing rain and fog. Rain and fog become more frequent from mid-October into November.

Climate data for Marysville (1897-2007)
Record high °F (°C)76
Average high °F (°C)54.1
Average low °F (°C)37.7
Record low °F (°C)9
Average rainfall inches (mm)4.01
Average snowfall inches (cm)0.2
Average rainy days (≥ 0.01 inch)109853100137956
Source: WRCC [16]


Historical population
1870 4,738
1880 4,321−8.8%
1890 3,991−7.6%
1900 3,497−12.4%
1910 5,43055.3%
1920 5,4610.6%
1930 5,7635.5%
1940 6,64615.3%
1950 7,82617.8%
1960 9,55322.1%
1970 9,353−2.1%
1980 9,8985.8%
1990 12,32424.5%
2000 12,268−0.5%
2010 12,072−1.6%
2019 (est.)12,476 [5] 3.3%
U.S. Decennial Census [17]


The 2010 United States Census [18] reported that Marysville had a population of 12,072. The population density was 3,367.9 people per square mile (1,300.3/km2). The racial makeup of Marysville was 8,576 (71.0%) White, 522 (4.3%) African American, 298 (2.5%) Native American, 498 (4.1%) Asian, 38 (0.3%) Pacific Islander, 1,247 (10.3%) from other races, and 893 (7.4%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2,920 persons (24.2%).

The Census reported that 11,402 people (94.4% of the population) lived in households, 145 (1.2%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 525 (4.3%) were institutionalized.

There were 4,668 households, out of which 1,571 (33.7%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 1,551 (33.2%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 836 (17.9%) had a female householder with no husband present, 318 (6.8%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 453 (9.7%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 35 (0.7%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 1,606 households (34.4%) were made up of individuals, and 579 (12.4%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44. There were 2,705 families (57.9% of all households); the average family size was 3.14.

The population was spread out, with 3,032 people (25.1%) under the age of 18, 1,569 people (13.0%) aged 18 to 24, 3,158 people (26.2%) aged 25 to 44, 2,860 people (23.7%) aged 45 to 64, and 1,453 people (12.0%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.3 males.

There were 5,196 housing units at an average density of 1,449.6 per square mile (559.7/km2), of which 1,828 (39.2%) were owner-occupied, and 2,840 (60.8%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.7%; the rental vacancy rate was 10.2%. 4,571 people (37.9% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 6,831 people (56.6%) lived in rental housing units.


As of the census [19] of 2000, there were 12,268 people, 4,687 households, and 2,826 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,501.1 people per square mile (1,353.3/km2). There were 4,999 housing units at an average density of 1,426.6 per square mile (551.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 71.0% White, 4.8% African American, 2.3% Native American, 6.0% Asian (including many Hmong people), 0.2% Pacific Islander, 10.1% from other races, and 5.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.5% of the population.

There were 4,687 households, out of which 32.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.8% were married couples living together, 15.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.7% were non-families. 31.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.14.

The population was spread out, with 27.5% under the age of 18, 11.7% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 18.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,494, and the median income for a family was $33,474. Males had a median income of $27,630 versus $20,240 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,315. About 15.2% of families and 18.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.9% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over.


Municipal policies for the City of Marysville are decided by a five-member city council. Council meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 6 PM in city hall. City council members serve four-year terms.

As of 2020, the council consisted of Mayor Chris Branscum, Vice-Mayor Bruce Buttacavoli, Brad Hudson, Stuart Gilchrist, and Dominique Belza. [20]

State and federal representation

In the California State Legislature, Marysville is in the 4th Senate District , represented by Republican Jim Nielsen, and in the 3rd Assembly District , represented by Republican James Gallagher. [21]

In the United States House of Representatives, Marysville is in California's 3rd congressional district , represented by Democrat John Garamendi. [22]


Marysville is served by Marysville Joint Unified School District for its public school system. It has five high schools: Marysville High, Lindhurst High School, Yuba County Career Preparatory Charter School (which is home to the award-winning Automotive Academy), Marysville Charter Academy for the Arts, and Abraham Lincoln Home School.

The city is home to the county's only brick and mortar library of the Yuba County Library system. W.T. Ellis High School was closed June 30, 1993


The Appeal-Democrat is a newspaper located in Marysville, and serves the Yuba-Sutter Area. The Territorial Dispatch is small weekly free paper. The Sacramento Bee is also widely sold in the city.

Marysville is the setting for Tom Waits' song "Burma Shave", a fictitious account of "... a young girl in a small little town, place called Marysville ... and, uh, it's up around Yuba City, Gridley, Chico, they're all the same, the names are different. It takes, oh, about 23 miles and you're in the next one, they got a Foster's Freeze just like the one you were tryin' to get out of." These lyrics are a precursor to the song, which starts immediately after. [23]


Marysville is served by two highways. California State Route 20 is the major east–west route, running to Nevada City to the east, and through Yuba City and Williams to the west, ending just south of Fort Bragg at California State Route 1. California State Route 70 travels south toward Sacramento, and north and east through Quincy to its terminus at U.S. Route 395.

Yuba County Airport is located three miles southeast of Marysville. It has two runways and is mostly used for general aviation.

Bus service is provided by Yuba Sutter Transit.

Southern Pacific passenger rail service to Marysville ended in 1957. [24] Amtrak's Coast Starlight added Marysville station as a stop in 1982, [25] [26] but the station was bypassed in 1999 and passenger services to the city ceased. As of 2018 San Joaquins trains are being studied to be extended north of Sacramento with a Marysville stop. [27]


Marysville has 15 parks and they are classified as either community, neighborhood and passive. [28]

Community parks

Ellis Lake

See "Sights of Marysville" or "Ellis Lake"

East Lake

East Lake park is located between 14th and 16th Streets on Yuba Street and sports picnic facilities in a natural setting.

Bryant Field

City owned Baseball stadium and home of the Marysville Gold Sox Baseball team. Facility provides seating for 3000 people and is available for rental either from the Gold Sox during the season or the city in the off season.

Beckwourth Riverfront Park Complex

The city's Beckwourth Riverfront Park is a large complex located on Bizz Johnson Drive adjacent to the Feather River. Amenities include a OHV MotoCross Course, Soccer Fields used by the Yuba Sutter Youth Soccer League, a nature area and Feather River Pavilion, a picnicking area known as Lion's Grove, a boat launch area with restrooms maintained by Redneck Yacht Club Marysville,Ca. a local volunteer group, softball fields and good fishing in the Feather River. Most of these facilities are available for rental. Beckwourth Riverfront Park also hosts the annual Marysville Stampede, a rodeo event featuring Cotton Rosser and his crew.

Neighborhood parks

Gavin Park

Located at Johnson Avenue and Val Drive, this park has picnic tables, benches, play equipment and a large open play area.

Miner Park

Located between Swezy and Sampson Street and East 14th and East 15th, this is one of the largest neighborhood parks. The amenities include play equipment, tot equipment, benches, a picnic table and basketball hoops, as well as a large open play area.

Motor Park

Formerly known as Market Square Park, this park, located at 14th and G streets, has play equipment, tot equipment, benches, picnic tables, a full court basketball pad and a large open play area.

Steven J. Field(circle) Park

This small circular shaped park is located on Rideout Way between Greeley Drive and Boulton Way. This park has play equipment, tot equipment, benches, picnic tables and an open play area.

Triplett Park

Located at Rideout Way and Covillaud Street, this park has picnic tables, benches, play equipment, tot equipment, and a large open play area.

Veterans Park

Formerly known as Napoleon Square, the name of this park was changed upon the completion of the Veterans Memorial in 2000. The amenities at this park located on 5th Street between G and H streets include play equipment, benches and picnic tables.

Yuba Park

Located at Yuba Street and East 10th Street, the amenities at this park include play equipment, picnic facilities and a large open play area.

Basin Park

Located on Hall Street between East 17th and Harris Street in East Marysville, this seasonal park is used for storm drainage storage during the rainy season. When the area is dry, the basin can be used for sports practices.

Passive parks

3rd and D Street Mini Park

Conveniently located in historic downtown Marysville there are benches available for taking a break while shopping.

Plaza Park

Located at 1st and D Street near the Bok Kai Temple, there are benches and picnic tables available.

Washington Park

The four corners at 10th and E Street were historically called Washington Square. Picnic tables and large open areas are available for outdoor dining and recreation.


Mary Aaron Memorial Museum

Built in 1855, the Gothic revival residence was one of the first brick structures in the area. The home was designed by Warren P. Miller and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was home to the Aaron family until 1935, and it is now held in trust by the City of Marysville. The lives of local residents are documented by photographs, clothing, and other furnishings in the changing exhibits, including many of the Chinese community who helped establish Marysville. Admission to the museum is free of charge, and open Fridays and Saturdays. [29]

Bok Kai Temple (北溪廟)

The Bok Kai Temple was erected in 1854, and rebuilt in 1880, by Chinese residents for the worship of their gods. The most important god worshiped there is Bok Eye, the god of water who has the power to control the rains. The temple remains a focus of the present Marysville Chinese community, who have dedicated themselves to preserving it. It is open on request for tours and visitors.

Bok Kai Festival and Parade (北溪慶會)

Marysville annually celebrates the Chinese New Year and the god Bok Eye with a festival. The Bok Kai parade has been produced each year since 1880 and is claimed to be the oldest continuing parade in California. [30] Because the festival celebrates Bok Eye according to the Chinese lunar calendar, the date of the parade is different each year. Marching bands, fire trucks, antique cars, floats, and dance groups walk the streets of historic downtown. Over 15,000 spectators each year come to watch the parade's greatest asset, a dragon 175-foot (53 m) long.

The festival concludes with the lighting of "bombs," which are made by hand under special permit from the State of California. Bomb Day is formally called Yee Yuet Yee by the Chinese community. The bombs are fired in a roped arena where young Chinese scramble for “good fortune” rings which are shot into the air by the bursting bombs, traditionally bringing good fortune to the holder throughout the year.

Ellis Lake

The centerpiece of Marysville is Ellis Lake, a lake surrounded by greenery and sidewalks. It is bounded by 9th Street to the south, B Street to the east, 14th Street to the north and D Street to the west.

Before 1924, Ellis Lake was a swamp. It was not until then that the Women's Improvement Club of Marysville commissioned John McLaren, famed designer of the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, to turn the swamp into a "beautiful lake". The project was completed in 1939. It was recently renovated, to the current mayor, Bill D. Harris, Sr.

On October 20, 2002, a car was found at the bottom of the lake, in seven feet of water. Inside the car was the skeletal body of Mary Jane Gooding. The Marysville Police Department believes that she accidentally drove her boyfriend's car into the lake on October 10, 1981. Her children thought she was victim of foul play; however, the Marysville Police Department maintains that there is no evidence to support that a crime was committed.

The lake, named for Marysville citizen W. T. Ellis, Jr., offers a pleasant walk, picnic areas, and fishing. For decades, Ellis Lake hosted a 4th of July celebration every year, featuring power boat and cardboard boat races. Youths built boats out of cardboard and duct tape, then tried to cross the lake without sinking. An annual fireworks display was canceled in 2004 after a young girl lost part of her leg due to a rogue firework shot from the island in the center of the lake into the gathered crowd. That year they had twice as many fireworks than usual, which made shooting the fireworks more difficult and dangerous. The lawsuit finally closed 11 months later when the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection released a report stating that mortar shells burst low into the crowd onto the other side of the lake from Gazebo Island.

In October 2007, the water fountain and lighting display was renovated and upgraded. The lights feature 37 colors and are viewable year round from 8 pm to midnight. This renovation was made possible by the combined efforts of a group of local citizens who have formed a group called Help Ellis Lake Prosper (H.E.L.P.).

Appeal-Democrat Park, also known as Bryant Field

Appeal-Democrat Park is home of the Marysville Gold Sox, a collegiate wood-bat baseball club.

California Swan Festival

The California Swan Festival, was held from 2013 to 2016, November 13–15, with the central events in Marysville's Caltrans Building. [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36]

Notable people

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Marysville Joint Unified School District

Marysville Joint Unified School District (MJUSD) is a school district in California, United States, headquartered in Marysville. It serves areas of Yuba County, including Marysville, Linda, Olivehurst, Challenge-Brownsville, Dobbins, Loma Rica, and a part of Plumas Lake.

José Manuel Ramírez Rosales

José Manuel Ramírez Rosales was a Chilean painter who was educated in France. He specialized in landscapes and maritime scenes, often with mythological elements. Although mostly involved in various business enterprises, he is remembered as Chile's first significant artist.


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