GHOST TOWN USA’s
Guide to the Ghost Towns of
MARIPOSA Co., CA
A Comprehensive Guide to the Ghost Towns, Mining
and Other Formerly
Inhabited Places in Mariposa County, California.
* * *
An INTRODUCTION & INDEX to
GHOST TOWN USA’s
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.
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
population figures are 1990 census figures unless noted otherwise. 2000 Census
figures will be added in the near future.
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.
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.
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.
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
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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
used in these listings include:
- AKA – Also Known As. This refers to alternate names or
spellings of a particular location.
- 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.
- CGC – Refers to Erwin Gudde’s book, California Gold Camps.
- 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.
- CPN – Refers to Erwin Gudde’s book, California Place Names.
- CR – County Route (County maintained
- (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.
- IOOF –
The fraternal organization known as the International Order of Odd
Fellows, which was quite prevalent in the Gold Country.
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.
- SH – State Highway
- US – US Highway
- [*1] – This number on the Biography and
Individual Location listing pages refers to bibliographic sources of
information as listed on the SOURCES
you venture to Mariposa
County for a visit,
and wish to see any of these historic locations please read and abide by
Towner’s Code of Ethics.
Also, please DO NOT trespass on private property, nor damage
any of the historical sites you discover.
posted PHOTOS are indicated thusly:
They are itemized in the individual site listing as to what they are
visiting these pages, and I hope they spark the fire for your own passionate
history of this beautiful county and state!
your journey to the Ghost Towns of Mariposa County, CA
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
FRIA | BAGBY | BEAR
VALLEY | COULTERVILLE
| HORNITOS | MARIPOSA
Here are a few links to Mariposa County related websites:
Mariposa County Visitor’s
Bureau: Mariposa, Home of Yosemite
Ghost Town USA’s Ghost Towns of
Also visit: Ghost Town USA’s
Page | Site Map | Ghost Town Listings
the Road Again | Photo Gallery
CURRENT Ghost Town of the
Month | PAST Ghost Towns
of the Month
Code of Ethics | Publications | Genealogy
| License Plate
A few LINKS to outside webpages:
Towns | Treasure
Hunting | License
Plate Collecting | Genealogy
December 10, 2001
March 19, 2005
website and all information posted here-in is
by Gary B Speck Publications
ALL rights reserved