Parks Bar Bridge from the north bank of the Yuba River. Photo by queerbychoice.

Parks Bar is a bar on the north bank of the Yuba River slightly southeast of Sicard Flat. The Parks Bar Quarry is located on it.


A party of prospectors led by Dr. John Marsh discovered gold at Parks Bar in 1848, and the site became known as Marsh Diggings. Later in 1848, David Parks opened a store there and the site became known as Parks Bar. It had its own post office from approximately 1851 to 1858.1

The History of Yuba County, California (Chapter XXIX: Parks Bar Township) by Thompson & West, 1879, described Parks Bar this way:

This point on the northeast side of Yuba river, fifteen miles above Marysville, was one of the first spots where gold was found on that stream, and was probably the richest of all the many bars so thickly spread along its banks. A company of early gold hunters arrived on the river, June 6, 1848, and after a few days prospecting, settled at Parks Bar and commenced work. The company came from Benicia, and consisted of Major S. Cooper and his son Sarshel, now living at Colusa, Nicolaus Hunsacker, Dr. Marsh, and Dr. Long and brother. Major Cooper says that he and his son, with Hunsacker, worked together, and made fifty dollars per hour, and because they could not do better, left in disgust. David Parks, from whom the bar derived its name, came here September 8, 1848. He with his family, consisting of wife and several children, was on his way overland to Oregon, when he was met by a train of Mormons, who informed him of the discovery of gold. He at once altered his course and came to this place. Mrs. Parks was the first white woman in the township. Parks mined and kept a trading-post and store, his customers being the Indians and the many miners that now began to cluster about this spot. Goods brought enormously high prices, especially among the Indians, who knew little of the worth of gold dust, and set great value upon beads and sugar, which they used to buy from Mrs. Parks. They would give a tin cup even full of gold dust for the same quantity of beads, and buy sugar, weight for weight. The Parks family remained only about six months, and then returned to the States by the way of the Isthmus. They landed in New Orleans early in the summer of 1849, being among the first, if not the first, to return from the gold region. The excitement was great at that time, and hundreds were leaving on every steamer. When Parks went to the bank and exchanged eighty-five thousand dollars in gold dust for coin, the excitement knew no bounds, and he was looked upon as a living evidence of the reality of the gold discovery. So little was known of the value of this dust, that he could obtain but twelve dollars an ounce. His sons, David and John, remained here, and for some time were prominent men of Marysville. Early in 1849, the miners began to gather rapidly at this point, and the bar soon became a populous and thriving town. It was very rich, and many a hard working miner returned from here to his eastern home with a golden belt. In 1852, there were six stores, three hotels, two blacksmith shops, barber shop, post-office, and a number of saloons. That year six hundred votes were polled, which was at least three-fourths of the population. The construction of a bridge was commenced in 1851, but it was swept away by high water before it was completed. A low water bridge was built in 1853. In 1859, Matt Woods constructed a tubular bridge across the stream. This broke down the same year. About a year later, Woods & Vineyard built a suspension bridge here, which was carried away by the flood in the spring of 1862. A stage was on the bridge at the time, and barely succeeded in getting clear before it fell. The toll receiver was killed by one of the falling cables. Parks Bar began to decline in 1854-55, and each successive year saw it becoming more and more deserted. The muddy waters of the Yuba now flow over the old site of this once flourishing town, and but little is left to bear evidence of its former prosperity. One house and a skiff ferry are all that can be found there now.


1. California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State by David L. Durham. Word Dancer Press, 1998