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 Read more...
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.
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
During the American Civil War. You Bet was a strong Union town. In the 1862 elections, the You Bet vote was 121 for the Unionists to 6 for the Secessionists. In the 1864 presidential election, Lincoln received 86 votes and McClellan received 2.
On April 24, 1869, the town was completely destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt, in part with buildings moved there from Red Dog, whose diggings were playing out. However, on September 7, 1873, fire again destroyed much of You Bet. By the turn of the 19th century, many of the town's residents had moved north about one half mile to be closer to the diggings