Mariposa Co., CA



Agua Frio, Aqua Fria,

Poverty Flat



(CHL #518)


Consisted of two communities of gold miners about a mile apart...Lower Agua Fria and Upper Agua Fria/Poverty Flat. 


The historic marker is located on SH 140, 3.2 miles west of Mariposa (milepost 17.2).  The camps were located on Agua Fria Creek, a half mile east of the junction of SH 140/ Mt. Bullion Cutoff, north of SH 140, about 3.5 miles west of Mariposa.


Both the state of California (PHOTO) and E. Clampus Vitus (PHOTO) have erected historical markers along SH 140, just south of the actual mining camp sites.


Lower Agua Fria was the main camp, and was located about a quarter mile above Agua Fria Springs and Carson Creek.  When Mariposa County formed on Feb 18, 1850, (Lower) Agua Fria was designated the county seat.  It held that honor until Nov 10, 1851, when the seat was transferred to Mariposa.  A post office was established on Oct 7, 1851.  The town burned Jun 22, 1866, sparing only 1 building.


From the Mariposa Free Press June 23, 1866

Information contributed via E-mail from William Disbro

“Agua Frio Burned.- The town of Lower Agua Frio was entirely

destroyed by fire yesterday morning. The fire originated in one of the

houses occupied by Chinamen, and as the buildings were all wood

structures the whole town was soon in a blaze. We are unable to give

the amount of loss, as we have only learned the above meager particulars

just as we go to press


         Upper Agua Fria was also known as Poverty Flat, and was smaller than, and located about a mile northwest of the main camp.  Hard rock mining began here about 1851.




·       NEΌ Sec 20, T5S, R18E, MDM

·       Latitude: 37.4849377 / 37° 29’ 06” N

·        Longitude: -120.0201759 / 120° 01’ 13” W


SOURCES:  #1, 2, 11



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First Posted:  December 10, 2001

Last Updated: March 19, 2005



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