NAME: Mariposa
COUNTY: Mariposa
GRID #(see map): 3
CLIMATE: Warm winter, mild summer
COMMENTS: On Highway 49, Semi-ghost.
REMAINS: Many original buildings.

Mariposa had its share of gun battles with marauding Indians until one of the last bands was located and captured in what is now Yosemite. As time would determine, Mariposa became the last southern link in a chain of mining towns that would extend north along what is now highway 49. Mariposa Creek was the main source of gold at first until hard rock mining took over. Kit Carson and two companions discovered the Mariposa Mine in 1849 and its ore output soon outgrew the crushing capacity of the primitive mill. A new and more modern mill was built and was in full production by 1859. The best years for the Mariposa Mine were from 1900 to 1915. There are many interesting and original buildings to be seen and appreciated. Submitted by Henry Chenoweth.

From the beginning this town dared to be different. Located at the extreme southern end of the Mother Lode, it was one of the few camps founded on a Spanish Rancho. It was here that miners first abandoned placer mining the stream beds and used pick in the actual Mother Lode. The big man of old Mariposa was that California immortal, Col. John C. Fremont. In 1847 he sent $3,000 to the American consul and bought Rancho Las Mariposas. It was a mammoth tract of 45,000 acres in what was then a wild and worthless region. Two years later, Fremont's cast-off rancho turned out to be the richest one in California. At this gateway to Yosemite stands one of the prize landmarks of the Mother Lode, the Mariposa County Courthouse. Built in 1884, it is the oldest continuously used county courthouse in California, and one of the few made of wood. And there are many other reminders of Mariposa's early days that remain.

Courtesy Dolores Steele

Mariposa County 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.
Courtesy Dolores Steele

Mariposa 1940's

This 33 x 26 foot structure was built in 1858 from Granite blocks quarried near Mormon Bar at the cost of 14,744.00 by J.O. Lovejoy. It orginally had two stories and a gallows at the east end. In 1892 a fire gutted the building, taking the life of its only occupant, Thomas Truit. Reconstruction called for
removel of the upper story. Several prisoners have escaped over the years, usually by overpowering the guards. In 1935 two inmates escaped with outside help. Rivets were cut, and iron plate removed, and a stone block worked loose. Both esscapes were captured in Oregon. The old stone jail was
condemed in 1963.
Courtesy Dolores Steele

Mariposa Gazette -- established 1854
Courtesy Dolores Steele

St. Joseph's Catholic Church -- 1862
Courtesy Dolores Steele

Courtesy Dolores Steele

Courtesy Dolores Steele

Oldest courthouse erected in California - 1854
Courtesy Anthony Gaudino

Mason Lodge
Courtesy Courtesy Anthony Gaudino