California State Historical Landmarks in Mariposa County
Properties of historical importance in California are currently designated as significant resources in three state registration programs: State Historical Landmarks, Points of Historical Interest, and the California Register of Historic Places. Below is a list of the State Historical Landmarks for Mariposa County. This data is provided by the Office of Historic Preservation - California Department of Parks and Recreation and is also available in the California Historical Landmarks Book.
NO. 323 MORMON BAR - Mormon Bar was first mined in 1849 by members of the Mormon Battalion. They, however, stayed only a short time and their places were taken at once by other miners. Later, thousands of Chinese worked the same ground over again.
Location: On small auxiliary rd on right, 500 ft SE of intersection of State Hwy 49 (P.M. 16. 7) and Ben Hur Rd, 1.8 mi S of Mariposa NO. 331 BEAR VALLEY - First called Johnsonville, Bear Valley had a population of 3,000, including Chinese, Cornish, and Mexicans. During 1850-60 when Col. John C. Frémont's Ride Tree and Josephine Mines were producing, Frémont's elegant hotel, Oso House, was built with lumber brought around the Horn. It no longer stands. After a fire in 1888, structures were rebuilt. Some still standing are Bon Ton Saloon, Trabucco Store, Odd Fellows Hall, school house and remains of jail.
Location: On State Hwy 49 (P.M. 29.2), Bear Valley NO. 332 COULTERVILLE - George W. Coulter started a tent store here in early 1850 to supply the hundreds of miners working the rich placers of Maxwell, Boneyard, and Black Creeks. He also built the first hotel, water for it was pumped from a well by two Newfoundland dogs. Originally called Banderita from the flag flying over Coulter's store, the settlement became Maxwell Creek when the post office was established in 1853, but the name was changed the following year to honor Coulter. The family of Francisco Bruschi, who erected the first permanent building here, provided the town's leading merchants for over eighty years. Despite their crude methods, and with only wood for fuel, the nearby quartz mines operated for years and produced millions of dollars worth of gold, Andrew Goss built the first stamp mill for crushing their ore.
Location: County Park, NE corner of intersection of County Hwy J20 and State Hwy 132 (P.M. 44.8), Coulterville NO. 333 HORNITOS - Hornitos, 'little ovens,' derived its name from the presence of many old Mexican stone graves or tombs built in the shape of little square bake ovens and set on top of the ground. The town seemed to have been settled by an undesirable element driven out of the adjoining town of Quartzburg, but as the placers at Quartzburg gave out, many of its other citizens came to Hornitos. It became the first and the only incorporated town in Mariposa County.
Location: 11 mi W of Bear Valley on County Road J16, Hornitos NO. 518 AGUA FRIA - One-quarter mile north of Carson Creek, a tributary of Agua Fria Creek, was located the town of Agua Fria, in 1850-51 the first county seat of Mariposa County. One of the original 27 counties in California, Mariposa County comprised one-sixth of the state-all of what is now Merced, Madera, Fresno, Tulare, Kings, and Kern Counties-until 1852, while mining was the main industry of region. The town of Mariposa became the seat of government in 1852, and the courthouse there was completed in 1854.
Location: 4189 State Hwy 140 (P.M. 172), 3.2 mi W of Mariposa NO. 527 SAVAGE TRADING POST - Here, in 1849, James D. Savage established a store built of logs. He engaged in trading and mining. In spring of 1850, fearing Indian depredations, he moved to Mariposa Creek, in December his store and others were pillaged and burned. A volunteer battalion was formed and Savage, elected mayor, went in pursuit of the tribe. Their secret hideout in Yosemite Valley was discovered and the war brought to a quick end. Major Savage was killed by a political opponent in August 1852.
Location: On State Hwy 140 (P.M. 43.2), 8 mi W of El Portal NO. 670 MARIPOSA COUNTY COURTHOUSE - This mortise-and-tenon Greek Revival courthouse, erected in 1854, is California's oldest court of law and has served continuously as the seat of county government since 1854. During the 19th century, landmark mining cases setting legal precedent were tried here, and much United States mining law is based on decisions emanating from this historic courthouse.
Location: 10th and Bullion Sts, Mariposa
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places: NPS-91000560 NO. 790 YOSEMITE VALLEY - On June 30, 1864, in an act signed by President Abraham Lincoln, the United States granted the Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Big Tree Grove to the State of California to 'be held for public use, resort, and recreation . . . inalienable for all time.' This, the first federal authorization to preserve scenic and scientific values for public benefit, was the basis for the later concept of state and national park systems. In 1906 the State of California returned the land, considered the first state park in the country, so that it could become part of Yosemite National Park.
Location: Mounted on entrance wall of auditorium bldg, Visitor Center, Yosemite National Park
See Also: Statewide Historical Landmarks listed by County
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This file last modified on: Friday, October 15, 2004.
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