Marysville (formerly, Jubaville, New Mecklenberg, New Mecklenburg, and Cordua's Ranch) is the county seat of Yuba County, California, United States. The population was 12,268 at the 2000 census. It is included in the Yuba City Metropolitan Statistical Area and is often affectionately referred to as the Yuba-Sutter Area after the two counties, Yuba and Sutter.
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. 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, a former employee of Cordua, Charles Covillaud, discovered riches in the gold fields and bought half of the Cordua ranch. Then, in January 1849, Michael C. Nye and William Foster, brothers-in-law to Covillaud's wife, Mary Murphy, 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.
In the days of the Gold Rush, the ranch was a stopping point for riverboats from Sacramento and San Francisco that carried miners on their way to the digging grounds. In 1850, Covillaud, Ramirez, Sampson, and Sicard hired Augustus Le Plongeon, a French surveyor, to create a plan for a town.
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, one of the surviving members of the Donner Party.
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. 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By 1853, the tent city had been replaced by brick buildings.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 was a prospering city; in fact, it was one of the largest cities in California, due to strategic location during the Gold Rush. 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."
Marysville was home to a significant Chinese American community in the 1860s, but it violently drove all its Chinese American residents out of town in February 1886. The Chinese American population has not recovered since.
However, because of the hydraulic mining on the Yuba River above Marysville, sediment raised the riverbeds of both the Feather and the Yuba Rivers and made Marysville vulnerable to flooding during winter storms and spring run-offs. The city built a levee system 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. Marysville has only flooded 3 times since 1875, but the town is now known as "California's Oldest Little City."
Also, the newly raised riverbeds made the Feather River more and more difficult to navigate and soon the riverboats could not make the trip to Marysville.
A sign on the roadside as one enters Marysville still carries the slogan: "Gateway to The Gold Fields."
Since April 2007, the Marysville City Council has been attempting to sell a portion of Washington Square Park, which serves as Marysville's town square, to commercial real estate developers. Since January 2009, 15 trees in Washington Square Park, mostly elms ranging from 30 to 100 feet tall, have been wrapped entirely in black fabric netting to prevent birds from nesting in them. This is because if specific rare birds are found nesting in them, environmental laws intended to prevent the destruction of rare birds' habitat could prevent the trees from being chopped down and thereby prevent the sale.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.6 square miles (9.4 km²), of which, 3.5 square miles (9.1 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (3.31%) is water.
As of the census 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/sq mi (551.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 70.95% White, 4.80% African American, 2.30% Native American, 5.99% Asian, 0.19% Pacific Islander, 10.10% from other races, and 5.67% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.54% 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.
In the city 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.
Large ethnic groups in Marysville include Irish, Germans, Polish, Italians, and Hmongs, a native tribe from SE Asia. Marysville, like Yuba City, has a large Hispanic population, mostly consisting of Mexican Americans.
In the state legislature Marysville is located in the 4th Senate District, represented by Republican Sam Aanestad, and in the 3rd Assembly District, represented by Republican Rick Keene. Federally, Marysville is located in California's 2nd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +13 and is represented by Republican Wally Herger.
Marysville is serviced by Marysville Joint Unified School District for its public school system. It has three high schools, Marysville High, Marysville Charter Academy for the Arts, and Abraham Lincoln Home School.
The Appeal-Democrat is a newspaper located in Marysville, and services the Yuba-Sutter Area. The Territorial Dispatch is small local free paper. Two zines, Intrepid Press & Wednesday Will Be are also printed and distributed locally. The Sacramento Bee is also widely sold in the city.
Flooding has been a major concern for the city for many years. The Yuba River is to the south and east of the city, while the Feather River is to its west. The two rivers converge just southwest of the city. Due to this, the city is entirely surrounded by levees. The rivers overflow some years when there is a great deal of snow in the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains or heavy rain from winter storms. This picture shows a flood which occurred in 1955. The photo shows the city outlined perfectly, while the adjacent orchards and farms surrounding the city are completely submerged.
Built in 1855, the Gothic revival residence was one of the first brick structures in the area. Home to the Aaron Family until 1935, it is now held in trust by the City of Marysville and Yuba County. The forgotten lives of local residents are documented by photographs, costumes 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.
Five years after the first contingent of Chinese arrived in California to work the gold mines, a temple to worship their gods was erected in Marysville. The year was 1854 and the foremost of the gods worshiped there was Bok Eye (北帝), the god of water who had the power to control the rains.
Unfortunately, the original temple first built in the early 1860s nearly two blocks upstream from the present site was destroyed by fire. The temple was replaced and rebuilt on the present site in 1880 and remains a great focus of the present Marysville Chinese community, who have dedicated themselves to preserving the temple. The Bok Kai Temple is the only one of its kind in the United States. People from as far away as Taiwan come to worship at the secluded temple. During the ritual of worship at the temple, each individual finds out how the new year will benefit him in his particular endeavor.
The Bok Kai Temple is located at the corner of D and First Street, Marysville. Tours are by special appointment; contact the Marysville Chamber of Commerce.
Marysville annually celebrates the Chinese New Year and the Bok Eye god with a festival. The Bok Kai parade has been produced each year for more than 125 years and is the oldest continuing parade in California. Because the festival celebrates New Year according to the Chinese lunar calendar, the date of the parade is different each year. The crash of gongs, the cracking of firecrackers, and the pounding of drums signal the beginning of the Bok Kai Parade. 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 150-foot (46 m) long.
Other activities during the festival include martial art demonstrations, food vendors, and art exhibits.
The festival concludes with the Bomb Day Event.
The most memorable centerpiece of Marysville is Ellis Lake, a sparkling lake surrounded by lush 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.
Ellis Lake was once an unsightly swamp. It wasn't until 1924 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, thanks in part 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 Mary Jane Gooding accidentally drove her husband'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, fishing and pedal boats. 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.