Nicolaus is an unincorporated town and area in Sutter County, California, USA, in the Yuba City Metropolitan Statistical Area. Nicolaus is located 38.903N, -121.576W at an elevation of 30ft. It is named after Nicolaus Allgeier, local rancher. The town's former names included Nicolaus Ferry, and Nicolaus' Ranche.
Nicolaus Allgeier established a ferry at what later became the town of Nicolaus in 1843 to cross the Feather River on the road between Sutter's Fort and Sutter's Hock Farm. The town was established in 1850 and has had a post office since July 28, 1851 making it one of the oldest post offices in the state.
Nicolaus was an early major stopping point on the Feather River during the California Gold Rush. It was the county seat of Sutter County in 1850-1851 and again 1852-1856 except for two months in 1854 when it was located in Yuba City. The area was described by R.T.P. Allen, Special Agent of the United States Government for the purpose of selecting early post offices in California as "a most beautiful country...[t]he country bordering the Feather River (near Nicolaus) is by far the most fertile and most beautiful I have seen in California."
Nicolaus was once home to a significant Chinese American community, but it violently drove all its Chinese American residents out of town in March 1886.
The town itself has approximately 110 residents and the outlying area has a population of roughly 600. The town is located just off State Highway 99 and adjoins the Feather River. The State Highway used to go through the town but a major flood in 1955 tore out the bridge over the Feather River and the town's commercial district has declined since that time.
The community is inside area code 530. The zip code is 95659 which also encompasses the communities of East Nicolaus, Trowbridge, Lee and Verona. It is served by East Nicolaus High School which is renowned for its male and female sports teams and which has won several section titles in football and other sports. It is also served by Marcum-Illinos Elementary School.
Recreational opportunities abound in the area. Golfers have access to the River Oaks Golf Course, a public 18 hole course, which is located next to the Feather River. The area is an outdoor paradise widely known for its hunting, fishing and bird watching. It is also known for canoeing and kayaking on the Feather River and for bicycling along its roads.
The area is unique in that it has retained its rural character yet is only 20 minutes north of Sacramento, the state capital. The economy of the Nicolaus area is driven by farming and walnut orchards and rice farming, predominate. The town of Nicolaus is the site of an annual Labor Day parade which attracts visitors from throughout the state.
In the state legislature Nicolaus is located in the 4th Senate District, represented by Republican Sam Aanestad, and in the 2nd Assembly District, represented by Republican Doug LaMalfa. Federally, Nicolaus is located in California's 2nd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +13 and is represented by Republican Wally Herger.