Mariposa Co., CA
“Queen of the Southern Mines”
the numerous butterflies, Mariposa, with 1400 or so folks, is far from being considered a ghost town, but is listed here due to its immense historical importance both
to the county and the state. It is
located at the junction of SH 49/140, southwest of
The first hard rock lode gold mine in the state was the Mariposa Mine, originally discovered in August 1849, supposedly by the famed scout Kit CARSON. That same year, this mine was the first in the state to use a steam-powered stamp mill to crush the gold-quartz ore.
On Jul 28,
1851 a post office was established, and on Nov 10, 1851, Mariposa wrested the
county seat away from
In 1854 the
courthouse was built and still remains in use, with only a few
modifications. It is said to be the
oldest continuously used courthouse west of the
Some of the early businesses included:
In late August 1866, a fire ripped through the town. Here’s a description as contributed by William Disbro on Oct 10, 1999. This includes many of the local businesses.
From an unidentified newspaper clipping late Aug 1866 (?)
(Name of paper and date not on posting, possibly the Mariposa Free Press -- GBS)
“On Saturday evening last, at about half past 6 o'clock, a fire broke
out in the office of the "Mariposa Free Press" and destroyed the entire
business potion of town from
The following comprises a list of the property destroyed, commencing at the point where the fire originated:
E.S. TERRY Stable and dwelling houses. $9,000
Mrs. GABRIEL Hotel and bakery $5,000
BOGAN & Co. Store and goods $18,000
FRANKL Goods $2,000
J. BECKER Butcher Shop & out buildings $3,000
STAHL Brothers Bakery $4,000
F. W. MELLO Building and furniture $6,000
SHAINFELD & ARENT Outbuildings & furniture $3,000
COOK & SAMUELS Outbuildings $400
A. W. JEE Dwelling house $600
McDERMONT & Co. Saloon and outbuildings $8,000
John HESSLER Boot and Shoe Store $2,000
Robert COLLISON Saloon $1,000
---- CASTOR Tin Shop $4,000
I. W. HARRIS Harness Shop $3,000
FARNSWORTH & GALLISON Blacksmith Shop & tools $2,000
J. W. TORNEY Saloon $2,000
J. R. McCREADY Livery Stable $3,000
J. W. McCREADY Wheelwright Shop $400
STEINBERGER Boot and Shoe Shop $500
Frank L. WULBURN Hotel $3,000
J.A. HENRY Buildings $2,090
Wm. BISHOP Tailor Shop $500
Wm. COHN Outbuildings $2,000
S. KRAFT Dry Goods Store $19,000
H. SCHLAGETER Hotel and furniture $9,000
B. F. BACHMAN Saloon and contents $5,000
Saml. LORD Saloon $500
Maria LA FORGE Buildings $2,000
George BERNHARD Saloon and contents $2,000
J. A. GRANDVOINET Drug Store & Buildings $8,000
Benj. GLIDDEN Buildings $1,500
Henry RUPELT Buildings $2,000
--- Odd Fellows Hall $2,000
John HIGMAN Grocery Store $5,000
W. H. CROCKETT Carpenters Shop and tools $500
Emma HOWARD Building and contents $800
DALY & BRADFORD Law Office $300
R. McCAFFREY Library and furniture $1,000
H. DAVANAY Buildings $500
LOVEJOY & Co. Concert Hall $1,000
The resiliency of the citizens of these early day communities is shown in snippets published a week later. Thanks again to William Disbro.
“RIDGEWAY & Co.'s peanut stand was not insured. Travel is brisk and the lumber trade good.
HIGMAN has commenced building a store near the site of his former place of business.
FARNSWORTH & GALLISON are ready to build.
Pete GORDON has a little 7 by 9 chebang and is retailing Whiskey and Lager.
Frank LEWIS is putting up a temporary structure for a hotel on the side of the WEBER house.
B.F. BACHMAN will rebuild the Arcade Saloon. Hugh DAVANAY is associated with him as a partner.
Mrs. GRISCHELL has rented the Hotel owned by George HAYS, opposite the Court House and resumed business.
Col. TERRY has moved his establishment into ASHWORTH'S stable, and is carrying on business as usual.
McCREADY is clearing away the rubbish from his building lot preparatory to putting up another building.
The report that the fire originated from the spontaneous combustion of that red headed printer is discredited.
Henry COLLINS lost a trunk containing about $500 worth of clothing, also an interest in a first class Hotel.
Tom ROWE's hotel was the only eating house left in town. His building, HARRIS's Livery Stable and Mrs. NICHOL's residence were saved by the Company's store which checked the fire on that side of the street.”
After this fire, the Mariposa Free Press never reopened.
In December, 1884 another fire ripped through town. According to the Mariposa Gazette,
“This makes the fourth conflagration Mariposa has suffered, since it was a town. The terrible fire of 1855, which swept nearly the whole town, but few are left here who witnessed it. The second, in 1866, consumed a greater portion of the principle business houses and hotels. The fire of 1868…”
Yet that fire was not the last. Another fire in March 1887 reduced the GALLISON Hotel and a neighboring building to ashes. At least the town was not laid waste again.
Many of the historical old buildings remain, including:
· COURTHOUSE: This white-painted, wooden structure was built in 1854 of whipsawed lumber and combined with mortise and tenon joints, and held together with wooden pegs. The clock and its cupola were originally installed in the 1860s, and the clock has run continuously since. It still has the original furnishings. The courthouse is CHL #670. PHOTO!
· INTERNATIONAL ORDER OF ODD FELLOWS (IOOF) Hall: This is a c1867 two-story iron-shuttered building that in 1978 housed the Fremont House, a western wear store. PHOTO!
· JAIL: Sitting on a low hill overlooking the south end of town, it was built in 1858 of locally quarried granite rocks. PHOTO!
· MARIPOSA GAZETTE Newspaper: Published continuously since 1854, it was first known as the Mariposa Chronicle.
· MASONIC HALL: Lodge 24, of the Free and Accepted Masons was housed in a two-story wooden building that housed an antique shop in 1978. PHOTO!
· SCHLAGETER Hotel: A two-story hotel with wide balconies, it was built in 1859. Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and James Garfield both stayed here on journeys to the west. In 1978 it housed a bank. PHOTO!
· John TRABUCCO building: This two-story, false-fronted building with iron shutters faces out onto the main street.
· TRABUCCO warehouse: This old brick warehouse sits across the street from the TRABUCCO store at the corner of SH 49/5th Street.
· 1930 – 380
· 1970 - 900
· 1980 - 1150
· 1990 - 1152
· 2000 - 1373
· Sec 23, T5S, R18E, MDM
· Latitude: 37.4849377 / 37° 29' 06" N
· Longitude: -119.9662843 / 119° 57' 59" W
Mariposa was the heart of the Mariposa Mining District, some of whose mines include:
SOURCES: 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 11, 14, WPA
Return to the GTs of Mariposa Co., CA Index Page
Detailed information on individual locations:
Ghost Town USA’s Ghost Towns of California
Also visit: Ghost Town
A few LINKS to outside webpages:
First Posted: December 10, 2001
Last Updated: September 27, 2009
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