Mary McClain: Nevada County’s racist past |

Mary McClain: Nevada County’s racist past

Clause VI – Racial Occupancy: “No persons of any race other than the white Caucasian race shall use or occupy any building or any lot except that this covenant shall not prevent occupancy by domestic servants of a different race domiciled with an owner or tenant.”

This statement is in the 1950 escrow document for the homes in the Grandview Terrace Subdivision in Grass Valley. This neighborhood is adjacent to Empire Mine State Park and includes Gold Hill Drive, Silver Way, and Copper Drive.

When I read the escrow for my property, and found this clause, I was astounded to see this practice alive and well in 1950s California. Of course, the cover sheet states this covenant is void based on federal fair housing laws that were since passed.

I wonder what local historians, longtime residents, real estate or escrow officials may have heard or read about this housing practice? How prevalent was it?

I’d love to see the staff at The Union dig into the local history to learn and share how the roots of racism took hold here in Nevada County; the whitest county in California at 93.4% (according to Wikipedia).

Mary McClain

Grass Valley

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