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A trip down Memory Lane- Part III: It’s time to head to Nevada City

The Alpha Building in Nevada City when it held Broad Street Furniture. Photo:
By Robt. Wyckoff with permission of Paul Matson and the Foley Library

Buckle up, dear readers, for we are taking another trip back in time to the Nevada City of my youth. And what a trip it will be!

First of all there are some businesses I must mention; a couple of places that weren’t necessarily downtown but that possess a lot of memories for me and I am sure a lot of you.

Mary Beardsley owned All-Points Florist which was tucked into a tiny shop space next to the Coach House restaurant. (That building’s most recent occupant was the Hospice Gift & Thrift.)

Then across the street and down Argall Way was PJ’s Meats. I will never forget that smoky smell when you walked in and as long as you were a meat-eater you would certainly find something to your liking.

The Davis family owned the Pastry Mill, where Darrel would churn out some of the sweetest treats in all of town. I think that is where my love of rainbow sprinkles began.

Over in the plaza next to S.P.D. was a store then known as Earth Song. It was tiny and offered an array of health food items. That little store went on to move into a much bigger location and eventually became California Organics.


I think it’s pretty obvious by now that I love to eat, and that has been a constant in my life. Why wouldn’t it be with places like Country Rose Café (best Cobb salad ever), Citizen’s Pizza (be careful on all-you-can-eat night), and Posh Nosh?

I am proud to say that in recent years I have been gifted the recipe for the wonderful bread Posh Nosh served, and now that it is getting colder I am going to attempt baking it. There is nothing else like it. I used to get the Greek pesto bread, which was topped with a symphony of fresh basil, tomato, and feta cheese. If you were feeling a little French you could get it with Brie instead. (All this to say that no, I will not share the bread recipe as it isn’t mine to share.)

And this column wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Selaya’s and the subsequent Citronella. That was the place to go for fine cuisine, and if you were proposing to the apple of your eye I am guessing that is where you went.

A number of friends worked at Bouzy Rouge, the delightful restaurant that even had a singing wait staff and transported you to New Orleans, making you feel like you were in the culinary equivalent of a Disneyland ride. Apparently this is where Julie Hardin—the executive director of InConcert Sierra—met her future husband, Ken, who was a pianist there then and is now InConcert’s artistic director.


Any time I came into any type of money, be it five or ten or twenty dollars, I would hit downtown Nevada City with friends and do a little shopping.

Mountain Song was a favorite, and there was a particular brand of rain-scented lotion that smelled so good. Every time I went there I would cover my hands with a pump from the tester bottle until one year I bought it for my mom for Christmas. That’s right—I didn’t buy it for myself, which would have made more sense.

And who can forget Mountain Song’s sticker selection? I’d carefully select them and then pull down on the roll and cut away. Those little Mrs. Grossman’s bears had my whole heart.

On the corner of Commercial and North Pine was Small Time Clothiers who always seemed to have the coolest selection of children’s clothing. That is where I got one of my favorite swimsuits I have ever had; it was teal and was one of those that wasn’t a bikini but the top and the bottom were tied together on the sides. I bought some Zinka to match it.

Scotch Broom was always a fun place to shop and I could always find something to spend money on at the Button Works, where Asylum Down resides now. You could find a button (as in, the kind you attach to your lapel or backpack, signifying things you like or support) in nearly any design, or create your own. My freshman year in high school my friends “pitched in” on one for me that read: “I’d rather be dead than red in the head.” Good friends. (They actually are, to this day.)

In the same vein, the T-Shirt Shop was located up next to the New York Hotel. You could have pretty much anything printed on a shirt, or choose from their selection of templates. There were a lot of Corvettes and kittens with roses involved.

The old Button Works building, during construction. Date unknown. Photo:
by Robt. M. Wyckoff, with permission of Paul Matson and the Foley Library

Alpha Hardware was not just a hardware store. The three levels did indeed contain a hardware store, but also escalated to clothing, art, and housewares. Eventually it became Broad Street Furniture and now it sits there mostly vacant, waiting for me to get the capital to bring my idea for the space to life.

In the 1990s my friend Amy’s aunt, Joanie Pendola (rest her dear soul) owned a shop on Broad Street called Nevada City Flowers & Scents. She sold beautiful fresh flowers, and shared the space with a little business called V’Tae which later went on to become a well-known purveyor of lotions, perfumes, and such.

A special shout-out to the American Victorian Museum (now the Miners Foundry) and to the annual Teddy Bear Convention. These are just some of the things that made childhood in Nevada County so special.

Thanks for reading, and thanks so much for all of your support and feedback on the last few columns. And you were all right: It was Farmer Brown’s.

Aloha, and Happy October.

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