I know the Niner you were looking at is a steel (853) frame, so you may not be interested in this suggestion. But the Ventana El Padrino may be an option. MSRP is under $1,000, designed & welded in the States, and has some kick ass geometry....but it is aluminum.
I've recently been beating the snot out of the singlesped verstion of the Padrino, the El Commandante, and this is one kick ass race bike. I recently covered 80 miles in an 8-hour race on it and I was worried that the stiff frame would destroy me over such a distance...but I felt great. I don't know how they did it, but they have a way of keeping the lateral super stiffness of a burly aluminum frame, but somehow, it's compliant. I have a carbon seatpost so I don't know if that helps to deaden vibrations at all...but thing rides just amazing.
Ventana's shop is literally 20 minutes down the road from me and I stopped in there a few weeks ago and they still were closing out some of last year's frames for a few hundred bucks off of MSRP. Give them call and they may have some left at a discount. OR, if not, drop me a PM cause the shop that I race for is a dealer and maybe I can talk to them for you.
If you are set on steel though, BWPA suggestion of the Bandersnatch is a good one. Those Vassago's have some different geometry idea's, but man they climb like billygoat's and have traction for days.
Let us know what you get!