Nevada County is webbed with some of the richest veins of goldbearing quartz in the world. First discovered in 1849 as placer gold washed into creek beds, hydraulic miners later used massive jets of water to melt mountains and free the precious metal. Rich lodegold districts such as Grass Valley and Nevada City were the most productive in California, and innovations such as hydraulic mining began here and spread throughout the nation. Whimsical names like You Bet, Red Dog, Rough and Ready, French Corral, and Blue Tent hint at the colorful beginnings of dozens of camps that grew from wild and chaotic tent towns to bustling young communities, complete with schools, churches, and businesses. Boomtowns North San Juan, North Bloomfield, and Columbia propelled Nevada County to the head of the state's economy by 1900 and hundreds of miles of gold-bearing quartz veins continued to be tapped in underground tunnels for another 50 years or more.