Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mormon Bar

Mariposa County – August 25, 2009

There are no traffic lights in all of Mariposa County. That alone should be enough to entice a weary city dwelling Californian to consider joining the 18,000 people that reside within its borders. But wait, there’s more; Mariposa does not have a single incorporated town! Mariposa is Spanish for butterfly and folks here celebrate the passing through of the Monarch butterfly every May. It’s a good thing Germans weren’t the first European people through here or it might have been called Schmetterling, and sounding more like a description of a butterfly hitting a speeding car windshield than the more elegant aura of the word ‘Mariposa’.

Some might say ‘there’s nothing to do here’ and that may well be true if endless strip malls, fast food, and numbing sameness is your thing, but bear in mind the rolling, grassy western hills of Mariposa County give way to Yosemite National Park, and if that can’t excite a naysayer, then they’d best stay home with their video games. Mariposa was one of the original counties of 1850, and the largest, but has ceded land to Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Merced, Mono, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, and Tulare, and because of that, it is sometimes called 'mother of the counties'.

Mormon Bar cir. 1860

Our first stop on this trip through Mariposa County is Mormon Bar and early on it’s apparent the directions are faulty, both from the state guidebook and GPS, The landmark is actually 500 down Fairground Road from Hwy 49 in the rambling community of Mormon Bar.

The Mormon Battalion was only here briefly in 1849 to 1850 after which the claim was taken over by other prospectors. Since Mormons aren’t supposed to drink alcohol, a literal thinker might believe Mormon Bar to be something of an oxymoron or oxymormon, but a bar claim is gold lying in low collections of sand, or gravel, in rivers that is exposed at low water.

Plaque inscription: NO. 323 MORMON BAR (N)- Mormon Bar was first mined in 1849 by members of the Mormon Battalion. They, however, stayed only a short time and their places were taken at once by other miners. Later, thousands of Chinese worked the same ground over again.
Location: On small auxiliary rd on right, 500 ft SE of intersection of 4720 Hwy 49 S, Mariposa 93601  (P.M. 16. 7) and Ben Hur Rd, 1.8 mi S of Mariposa 
GPS: 37.461847,-119.949449

No comments:

Post a Comment