Mariposa is the next major gold mining town if you continue south on Highway 49 from Coulterville. Mariposa county used to be the largest county in California in the 1800’s, extending all the way to Los Angeles. However, it is much smaller today. Mariposa, meaning butterfly in Spanish used to be called Logtown. It used to be a central mining town in the area. Today it is centrally located to Yosemite National Park and is a stopover for many before they enter the park. Mariposa still retains its small town feel. Some of the older buildings have been converted into small businesses.
John C. Fremont, the famous explorer, used to live in Mariposa. He purchased a floating land grant of 45,000 acres for $3000. His purchase was made prior to 1849 when gold was discovered. Therefore, he placed the 45,000 acres to include the town of Mariposa and the nearby gold fields.
California State Mining & Mineral Museum is well worth a visit. This building is located at the county fairgrounds on Highway 49. Their collection of gems and minerals is fabulous and also quite large. They exhibit gold, diamonds, benitoite – California’s state gemstone, and many other gems and minerals. Their gold collection is particularly impressive. Allow at least an hour. Admission for adults is $6.50. Students with an I.D., those over the age of 59, and those between the ages of 14 to 18 are $4.50. www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=588
County Courthouse located at 5088 Bullion Street. This courthouse is the oldest courthouse in the state still in use. It was built in 1854. Notice the old clock in the square clock tower. It was brought around the tip of South America in the early 1850’s. Admission is FREE. For more information call PHONE NUMBER (209) 966-2456.
Mariposa Museum & History Center is located on Highway 140 at 12th and Jessie Streets. This museum contains gold rush relics and mining and printing equipment. The museum is in a restored 1860 house of the former county treasurer. For more information call PHONE NUMBER (209) 966-2924.
Visit the Mariposa County Chamber of Commerce: www.mariposa.org