Yuba City was founded in 1849 on land purchased from John Sutter by Samuel Brannan, Pierson Reading, and Henry Cheever. They came to establish a distribution center for supplying the Gold Rush 49ers. Sam Brannan, as senior partner, had the town site laid out and hired agents to sell lots. Today he is honored with a city park named for him.
This old lithograph shows Yuba City and Marysville, circa 1851.
Yuba City is on the left.
The Feather River flows from the upper right to the bottom left. The Yuba River flows from bottom right into the Feather, center.
Further downstream, the Feather flows into the Sacramento River.
In the background you can see the Sutter Buttes, known as the 'Smallest Mountain Range in the World'.
Compare this lithograph to the aerial photo on the Aerial Photo page to see how things have changed.
During the Gold Rush days, Marysville (in Yuba County), on the east bank of the Feather River, overshadowed Yuba City since it was easier for miners arriving by riverboat from San Francisco and Sacramento to reach the gold fields to the east.
It wasn't until after the Gold Rush was over, and people turned to the fertile land west of the river, that Yuba City began to prosper. Yuba City was established as the county seat by a vote in 1856, and incorporated January 23, 1908.
Some say the name 'Yuba' ( sounds like you-bah ) comes from a corruption of the Spanish word, 'uba' meaning 'grapes', because of the wild grapes said to grow along the banks of the Feather River. Others claim yu-ba was the tribal name of Maidu Indians who lived in the area.