Latitude / Longitude:
39°12′33″N 120°54′00″W / 39.20917°N 120.90000°W / 39.20917 -120.90000
2,910 ft (887 m)
Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
You Bet is a small unincorporated community in Nevada County, California. You Bet is located in the Sierra Nevada foothills, 7 miles (11.3 km) east of Grass Valley and 5.5 miles (8.9 km) northeast of Chicago Park.
The mining town of You Bet was established during the California Gold Rush, principally by miners from across Birdseye Canyon in the nearby town of Waloupa. Waloupa had been founded just to the south in 1852. As its diggings played out, miners began moving about a half a mile to the north, to the other side of Birdseye Canyon. Lazarus Beard opened a saloon there in 1857. According to local lore, the Waloupa miners gathered one day in Beard’s saloon to name the new town. His favorite phrase was “you bet”. Whenever Beard was asked about a proposed name, he would reply “you bet.” After much drinking, the miners decided that You Bet sounded just right.
Today, You Bet is a community of about 50 residences located within a radius of a few miles from the old mining town. It has a community church, but no commercial establishments. It was declared a California Historical Landmark in 1975. All that remains of the Gold Rush era are the scarred diggings, some of the ditches, and the historic cemetery, which contains gravestones dating back to the 1860s. Interments were resumed in the 1990s. The last remaining historic building, the old schoolhouse, was reportedly dismantled in the 1960s by squatters looking for lumber.
The town grew quickly. Soon, several stage lines connected it with Nevada City and other mining areas. By 1864, the town had 40–50 buildings, including hotels, stores, shops and saloons. That year, a schoolhouse was built between Red Dog, a mining town about 1 mile to the north, and You Bet with monies raised by subscription. A post office was established in 1868 and served the community until 1903.