"Small Town Lots of History" Top 5 Page for this destination Mariposa by jstark

Mariposa Travel Guide: 43 reviews and 87 photos

You can Walk Everywhere!

Almost everything you want to see and enjoy in Mariposa is within walking distance! All of the shops are on Hwy 140 or the Main Drag. Lots of Antiques and local art! Very friendly atmoshpere that always makes you feel welcome!

History in a Nut Shell

Before 1849 the county was primarily populated by Native Americans. By the mid-1800's, the Mexican Political influence in California was waning, and much of the land was being split into land grants which were then being sold off. One of these grants,'Las Mariposas,' covering roughly 44,000 acres was purchased in 1846 for Col. John C. Fremont, the 'Pathfinder of the West.' Shortly after, in 1848, gold was discovered in the area and the region immediatly found itself on the map. The population in areas with gold exploded almost overnight and at one point was substantially higher than it is today.
On February 18, 1850 Mariposa County became one of California's original 27 counties. Known as the Mother of Counties, it's originally was the largest county in California, taking up an entire fifth of the state. The land of the orginal Mariposa county was later split up to create or expand 10 counties including Fresno, Merced, Tulare, Los Angeles and San Bernadino couties.
John C. Fremont, Pathfinder of the West, arrived in Mariposa County was a land grant and founded the town. The original streets were named after his family members and he donated the land where the COunty Court House , built in 1854, stands and is still being used today. Thousands of Miners were flooding into the county to get their own piece of the action, and Mariposa was built under Fremonts direction as a center for the areas mining operations. Other towns as well sprang into being, many of which survive to this day such as Bear Valley and Coulterville.
Over the next 50 years, mining operations came and went until at last all the major claims had been mined. With the bread and butter of the county exhausted, many residents moved on and an entire towns were deserted. The population in the count dwindled until 1924, when the new all-weather Highway 140 was built through Mariposa. At that point, year round visitors to Yosemite National Park could now travel through the area and the tourist trade gave the county new life.
Location Mariposa County runs from the foothills of Central California to the Wester Slopes of the Sierra Nevada range. It takes up 931,200 acres, but the federal government owns 55 percent of it due to Yosemite National Park, the Bureau of Land Managment and the SIerra/Stanislaus National Forests being within the county. The county is bounded by Tuolumne County on the north and east, Madera County on the south and Merced county on the West.

  • Intro Updated Apr 14, 2007
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Reviews (8)

Comments (3)

  • amandajayne81's Profile Photo
    Apr 17, 2009 at 8:37 PM

    Great background on Mariposa. Well done.

  • kayleigh06's Profile Photo
    May 23, 2007 at 7:24 AM

    Nice tips on your hometown Jenni! Never even heard of Mariposa before, nice little insight! Keep up the good tips! Kayleigh

  • atufft's Profile Photo
    Apr 17, 2007 at 9:04 PM

    Wow! What an informative page on hometown Mariposa! I didn't realize that the street names were J. Fremont's family. The tourist trap and restaurant tips are certainly things to remember next time we swing through town too.

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