Downieville is one of the most historically rich of all the Gold Rush Era towns in the Sierra Nevada. First settled by the white man in 1849, this town that once boasted more than 5,000 residents (now barely 200) was originally known as “The Forks”. A mile upstream from The Forks lies what’s historically known as Hardy Ranch and Breyfogle Flat; a unique combination of habitable riverfront land and above it, a sprawling meadow boasting one of the largest flat pieces of ground in the narrow, winding canyon of the North Yuba River.
Originally this was one contiguous 70+ acre property, one of the first pieces of land to be settled in the canyon by the Englishman George Hardy and his family. It is also reported to be the site of the first non-native white person to be born in the canyon, Joel Wilson Nevada Hardy, born April 28, 1852.
But in the last century, what’s now known as The Lure Resort and Slate Castle Ranch have been separate properties with separate owners. That is until October 2018, when Lost Sierra Development, LLC (LSD, LLC) – a group of 18 friends with ties to the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship – banded together and bought both properties. For the first time in nearly 100 years, the two properties became one again.
Any time there’s a bridge over a river with more than one property owner on the other side and a shared water source, it’s a recipe for issues, which is exactly what previous owners of these two properties discovered. It all started in the late 1940s to early 1950s when one owner wanted to block bridge access to the other owner. When the other owner said, “well, you get your water from the spring on my property, so go find your own water”, the problems began.
Ever since Hardy Ranch was split up, there’s been nothing but disputes, disagreements, arguments and vitriolic lawsuits. In the end, the only real winners were lawyers. Both the owners and the property itself suffered great losses in these disputes, as well as the greater Downieville community that depends on this property as a community asset.
It is the mission of LSD, LLC to bring this property back to its full potential, making it once again an invaluable local community asset. It is also our mission to tell the story of this historically rich and beautiful property, which is what Lure Lore is all about.
We are blessed to have guests who’ve been visiting The Lure for generations, and we want your stories. The best way we can tell the history of this place is through the people who’ve been coming here for decades. We invite you to share your photos and stories; whether it be through email, or when you come and visit us. We’ll be putting guest journals in every cabin, and invite you to scribble your memories of this place while sitting along the North Yuba; what it looked like, where the old cabins were, stories of previous owners, all the gold you found and trophy fish you caught.
2020 is going to be an amazing year, and we look forward to sharing memories both new and old with our valued guests.