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Smartsville is an unincorporated town in Yuba County. It is located south of Sucker Flat and the Yuba River, southeast of Timbuctoo, northwest of the Spenceville State Wildlife Area, north of Waldo Junction, northeast of Beale Air Force Base, and east of Hammonton. It has a population of 1,883 (as of a 2009 estimate). Its elevation is 669 feet. The average annual rainfall is 32.3 inches. The average high temperature in July is 87.2°, and the average low temperature in January is 31.9°.

The native plant community of Smartsville is central oak woodland.

The U.S. Postal Service sometimes lists addresses in Sucker Flat and Timbuctoo as being in Smartsville, because they are all in the 95977 zip code. However, on the Yuba-Sutter Wiki, we prefer listing the more specific locations.


As of a July 2007 estimate1, residents' median age was 43 years.

Of residents 25 or older, 87.2% had at least a high school degree, 15.7% had at least a bachelor's degree, and 6.5% had a graduate or professional degree. Smartsville has the second-highest proportion of high school graduates in the Yuba-Sutter area (after Beale Air Force Base).

Of residents 15 or older, 68.4% were married. Smartsville has the second-highest proportion of currently married residents in the Yuba-Sutter area (after Beale Air Force Base).

For employed residents, the average travel time to work was 34 minutes.

The 2008 median home price was $294,140. Smartsville has the second-highest median home price in the Yuba-Sutter area (after Loma Rica).


Smartsville was formerly known as Empire Ranch. It is now named for James Smart, who built a hotel there in 1856. Similar to the name of Marysville, the name Smartsville had an "s" added after James Smart's name, followed by "ville," but no apostrophe was used before the "s." In 1909, U.S. Postal Service changed the name from Smartsville to Smartville, in response to an objection that the word "smarts" is a colloquial variation of the word "smart." However, in August 2008, the Board on Geographical Names restored the town to its former name "Smartsville," because the town is named for James Smart rather than for the word "smart."

Hydraulic mining was done extensively in Smartsville, and if had continued much longer, it would probably have washed away the land that Smartsville was built on. The bottom of the Yuba River was raised 84 feet by hydraulic mining debris that spilled into the water, and slightly downstream from Smartsville, near Hammonton, the Yuba River has adopted an entirely new channel approximately 1.5 miles northwest of its original channel. However, when hydraulic mining stopped, its absence washed away much of Smartsville's economy.

Mary McMenamin Slingsby opened a public school in Smartsville in 1873.

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

James Smart built a hotel at this place in the spring of 1856. This was the first building except a few cabins, here and there, occupied by the miners. The only large settlements at that time were Timbuctoo and Sucker Flat. L. B. Clark bought the place in 1857, and kept a store. The hotel is now owned by B. Smith. A saloon was started in 1856, also a small store was kept by a Mr. Shearer. As the mines began to develop the place gradually [began] to settle up, until at present, it is a thriving mining town. The old cemetery on the hill, near the Empire Ranch, was first used in 1852, for the burial of a man from Oregon. This was followed by the entombing of several men who died with cholera. About three years ago a mine caved in at Sucker Flat, killing seven men, who were all buried in one day. A little further up the road is the Fraternal Cemetery, laid out by the Masons, Odd Fellows, and Good Templars, in 1875. Until a few years ago the remains of Catholics were taken to Marysville to be interred in the Catholic cemetery there; but a fine burial ground has since been laid out, just across the ravine and south of the town.
Smartsville now contains two churches, one school house, one Masonic hall, one post-office, one Wells, Fargo & Co.'s express office, one Western Union telegraph office, two hotels, two livery stables, four saloons, two general stores, two drug stores, one lumber yard, one meat market, one barber shop, two shoemaker shops, one tin shop, one blacksmith shop, one private school, three physicians, one notary public and insurance agent, four carpenters, and about sixty dwelling houses. The population at present is about four hundred. The first public school was built across the road from the present one in 1856, and was taught by a Mr. Savage. A private school was taught by Miss Slayter and Miss Stevens. The site of their school has been mined away, and the building has been moved to its present locality, and is now used as a private school-room by Mrs. J. V. Berry. Mrs. Berry taught the public school from 1857 to 1872, and since then has taught private school. She has had seventy-two scholars at one time in the latter. In 1873, the school building was removed from Timbuctoo, and joined to the one at this place. The Rose Bar school district now embraces Smartsville, Timbuctoo, and Sucker Flat.
There was a brick kiln here in 1857, or 1858, near the school house, where a few bricks were made of sediment. The material did not make a good quality brick, and the business was given up.


April: Smartsville-Timbuctoo Pioneer Day


Places to Have Fun

Places to Eat or Drink

Places to Shop

Other Places

Main Roads


Sperling's Best Places: Smartville Smartsville entry on Wikipedia


1. Sperling's Best Places: Smartville