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GHOST TOWN USA’s

Guide to the Ghost Towns of

MARIPOSA Co., CA

 

A Comprehensive Guide to the Ghost Towns, Mining Camps

and Other Formerly Inhabited Places in Mariposa County, California.

 

*   *   *   *   *

An INTRODUCTION & INDEX to

 GHOST TOWN USA’s

Mariposa County, CA Pages

 

 

Mariposa County was one of California’s original counties, established in 1850 and once consisted of nearly one-fifth of the state’s area.  Named after the numerous butterflies flitting about the corrugated green scenery, it became the southern focus of the massive California Gold Rush, a historical event that changed America’s history, and turned California from a sleepy Mexican territory into the booming economy we now call “The Golden State”.  In addition to its mining and agricultural heritage, this beautiful county is also the home for Yosemite National Park.

 

Mariposa County plays host to several hundred ghost towns, mining camps, stage stations and other settlements.   These web pages exploring the ghost towns of Mariposa County, CA represent over thirty years of research.  When I was just a 17-year old boy back in August 1968, my interest in the Ghost Towns of the United States was born here in this county.  We were on a family vacation to the Gold Country and were staying in a motel in Mariposa.  While strolling the streets at dusk, I noticed bats flying out of the belfry and from under the eaves of the courthouse.  That piqued my interest, and the next day as we walked up and down the streets of that historic old county seat, I fell in love with the gold mining heritage of the Golden State.  My love affair with history grew into a passion, and in 1984 I began writing a monthly column called Ghost Town USA, which has appeared in Western & Eastern Treasures Magazine for over 20 consecutive years.  Then in 1996, the Ghost Town USA web pages began to take shape as an outgrowth from that column, and the tremendous amount of information collected over the past thirty years plus.

 

On these pages, I will attempt to catalogue as many of Mariposa County’s ghost towns, mining camps, old schools, stage stations, and other places of habitation as possible.  Also, please note that these Ghost Town USA Mariposa Co., CA pages are being constructed in collaboration with, and are linked to the “Mariposa County History & Genealogy Research pages” a Mariposa County, California genealogy and history site, hosted by Carolyn Feroben, and associated with the CAGENWEB projects.  The former “Mines of Mariposa Co.” web pages hosted by William Disbro have been transferred to the pages (link above) and are available there.   With all of our combined resources, we hope to make all of these pages the best sources for Mariposa County historical information on the web.

 

Mariposa County has a rich mining heritage dating back to the early days of the Gold Rush.  In California’s centennial year (1949) there were still 21 active lode gold mines and seven active placer gold mines in operation in the county.  There was also one active copper mine that produced only 200 pounds of copper.  Production of gold in that year was 6681 ounces, worth $233,835.  The gold mines in Mariposa County lie in three distinct belts, the West Gold Belt, the Motherlode Gold Belt and the East Belt.  You will see references to these gold belts in the various listings.

 

As you view the various listings on these pages you may spot some errors or omissions.  If so, PLEASE feel free to contact me and let me know so I can make any needed corrections.  I have not visited all of these locations in Mariposa County, so I cannot vouch for what is currently visible at the various sites.  If you know of the exact locations or histories of some of the more obscure sites listed, please let me know at Ghost Town USA.  Also if you have any photos or have visited the sites and would like to share some current status descriptions, you will be appropriately credited.

 

NOTES for the listings

 

  • All population figures are 1990 census figures unless noted otherwise. 2000 Census figures will be added in the near future.
  • Specific locations highlighted thusly, are links to another page(s) with more details/history/photos of that specific location, or cross-references to the alphabetic listing pages.  In the case of mining district names, there will be a list of mines in that district.
  • The historical vignettes shown on these pages are from many sources.  If you want to know where the information came from on any individual location, please e-mail me and I can provide that bibliographic source information.  Some information came from postings to the Rootsweb Mariposa County Discussion Group.  Those are noted as such, and are indicated by a note.
  • In addition to the historical vignettes posted on these pages, you will note that surnames are marked THUSLY.  Some of the names will be linked to a page featuring brief biographical sketches. However, please note, that not all names will be linked.  Highlighting of the names will aid those in search of their family in Mariposa County.   Since the primary function of these particular web pages are for location history, I have elected to not focus on the people as much as the locations, and leave that for others to post.
  • The actual sites of many of the listed mining camps are long forgotten, and their names may only be reflected in the names of creeks, gulches, hills, and roads.  If I have been unable to physically locate a particular site, it will be noted as “Location not determined”, or  Exact/Actual location not determined.”  In the case of the former, it means I know it’s somewhere in the county, but have no idea where.  In the later, I know the general location, but have not pinpointed the site.
  • On most listings the locations will be measured from known points.  In some cases you may see reference to mileposts.  These are the roadside mileage marker “paddles” located along most of California’s highways.  
  • As mentioned before, these pages are for “fair use” of ALL researchers of Mariposa County history and genealogy.  They are being posted in cooperation with the above named sources, and we all hope that this information will help you discover your past and provide you with a sense of the history of this beautiful and historic county.  These pages DO fall under copyright protection of Gary B. Speck Publications and MAY NOT be used for commercial gain.
  • Please remember that during the gold rush, many nationalities and ethnic groups were represented, and were quite often discriminated against by the general “white American” miners.  Many places were given names that today would be considered derogatory.  Please take that into consideration when you scan these listings.
  • Also remember that because of the many nationalities present, AND the poor spelling of most folks in those days, there may be a wide variation in the spelling of some locality names.  One map would spell it one way, and a mention in a period newspaper would spell it another way.
  • Abbreviations used in these listings include:
    1. AKA – Also Known As.  This refers to alternate names or spellings of a particular location.
    2. BAR/River BAR – These refer to riverbank or river island placer diggings.  The sand and gravel forms small “bars” and it was this material that was mined for its gold.
    3. CGC – Refers to Erwin Gudde’s book, California Gold Camps. 
    4. CHL# – Refers to a registered California Historical Landmark.  These are points of statewide historic interest and are registered by the State Historical Resources Commission and administered by the Department of Parks and Recreation.
    5. CPN – Refers to Erwin Gudde’s book, California Place Names. 
    6. CRCounty Route (County maintained highway)
    7. (GBS) – Personal notes I make are indicated with my initials afterward.  These notes, and any speculation I make are also noted in bold orange print.
    8. IOOF – The fraternal organization known as the International Order of Odd Fellows, which was quite prevalent in the Gold Country.
    9. …SEE/also SEE – This refers you either to the most commonly known name for a location, or in the case of mines, the nearest town, mining district or area where it was located.  
    10. SH – State Highway
    11. USUS Highway
    12. [*1] – This number on the Biography and Individual Location listing pages refers to bibliographic sources of information as listed on the SOURCES page
  • If you venture to Mariposa County for a visit, and wish to see any of these historic locations please read and abide by the Ghost Towner’s Code of Ethics.  Also, please DO NOT trespass on private property, nor damage any of the historical sites you discover.
  • Any posted PHOTOS are indicated thusly:  PHOTOS! They are itemized in the individual site listing as to what they are pictures of.

 

THANK YOU…

for visiting these pages, and I hope they spark the fire for your own passionate love affair

with the history of this beautiful county and state!

 

 

Begin your journey to the Ghost Towns of Mariposa County, CA

HERE

 

Mariposa County locations with names beginning:

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | PQ | R | S |TUV | W | XYZ

 

Detailed information on individual locations:

AGUA FRIA | BAGBY | BEAR VALLEY | COULTERVILLE | HORNITOS | MARIPOSA | MOUNT BULLION

BIOGRAPHIES | SOURCES

 

Here are a few links to Mariposa County related websites:

 

Mariposa County Visitor’s Bureau: Mariposa, Home of Yosemite

 

Also visit:

 

Ghost Town USA’s Ghost Towns of California

 

Also visit: Ghost Town USA’s

 

Home Page | Site Map | Ghost Town Listings | On the Road Again | Photo Gallery | Treasure Legends

CURRENT Ghost Town of the Month | PAST Ghost Towns of the Month

Ghost Towner's Code of Ethics | Publications | Genealogy | License Plate Collecting

 

A few LINKS to outside webpages:

Ghost Towns | Treasure Hunting | License Plate Collecting | Genealogy

 

 

First Posted:  December 10, 2001

Last Updated: March 19, 2005

 

 

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