It is said that Grass Valley was named by settlers whose cattle had wandered from their campsite on Greenhorn Creek to a "grassy valley" nearby where the grazing was better. Miners panning for gold along Wolf Creek and a major discovery of gold-bearing quartz in 1850 started a boom. The "grassy valley" was an easy place to put up buildings. A store opened and the spot became known as Boston Ravine. For a short time it was called Centerville; then it became Grass Valley.