History of Lake Olympia

Early in the 1850's Glenbrook Basin first became known as the site of county fairs, horse racing and other special events. Olympia Park, located at the south end of the basin opened in 1901. People would arrive by horse and buggy and years later by automobiles, the Nevada County Traction Company trolley and Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad. Large grandstands located approximately where Safeway stands today would provide a great view of the nearly one mile long oval racetrack that stretched from the present day sites of McDonalds to The Union newspaper building. Trotting, pacing and running horse races were held at the track followed by motor car races in 1913.

Our agency borrows its name from Lake Olympia that was formed when a dam was constructed just northeast of the electrical substation on Sutton Way. For over 50 years it was a major recreational destination in Northern California providing camping, boating, fishing and swimming. An island in the middle of the lake housed a dance pavilion complete with a coil spring mounted dance floor that swayed with the dancers rhythm. A multi-level diving platform standing 30 feet tall was a very popular feature. Olympia Park contained a bathhouse, a roller skating rink and bar. Canoes and bathing suits were available for rent . Families also rented cabins and picnicked in the shade of the large pine trees along the shores.

Olympia Park fell into disrepair in the 1950's and closed in 1958. While once the recreational center of Nevada County, Glenbrook Basin is now home to the county’s main commerce center.

Historic accounts provided by the Nevada County Historical Landmarks Commission.

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Contact Us

908 Taylorville Rd.,Suite 106 (Map)
Grass Valley, Ca 95949
Phone: 530-274-2704
Fax: 530-231-7029
Email: lkoly1@att.net

License #0B94897