California Historical Landmarks in Mariposa County
California Historical Landmark 331
Highway 49 (Milepost 29.2)
28 October 2012
(Click Photo to Zoom)
First called Johnsonville: Bear Valley had a population of 3,000 including Chinese, Cornish and Mexicans during 1850-60 when Col. John C Fremont's Pine Tree and Josephine mines were producing. Fremont's elegant hotel "Oso House", built with lumber brought around the horn, no longer stands.
After fire in 1888, structures were rebuilt. Some still standing are Bon Ton Saloon, Trabucco Store, Odd Fellows Hall, school house and remains of jail, all reminders of Bear Valley's colorful past.
Dedicated April 20, 1895
Mantuca Chapter 1849 E Clampus Vitus
Headquarters of Col. John C. Fremont, world-famous American, who, in 1847, purchased a floating Mexican grant of 44,000 acres for $3000. After gold was discovered, he floated his grant to include the Mother Lode gold belt from Mariposa to Merced River. After costly litigation, his title was confirmed by Supreme Court in 1859.
He worked his rich placers by grubstaking experienced Mexican miners before the influx of Americans and subsequently he opened up rich quartz mines, in 1851. He built a two story hotel and later a large store and his home, called "The White House". Horace Greeley visited here in 1859 and wrote "The colonel is now operating two stamp mills and netting $100,000 a year". In 1863, he sold his grant for $6,000,000.
Although we found a granite marker and a wooden marker, we were unable to locate a California commemorative plaque.
Some Missing California Plaques
When we visited the following sites, we were unable to locate a California commemorative plaque.
At some sites, it appeared that a California plaque had never been erected. At other sites, there was a base, but the plaque itself was missing. Some sites without California plaques had other historic markers, but they did not note that the site is a California Historical Landmark.
Montezuma, Tuolumne County
Montgomery Hill, San Jose
Napa Valley Railroad Depot, Calistoga
Negro Hill, Folsom Lake State Recreation Area
Noble Pass Route, Lassen Volcanic National Park
Old Custom House, Monterey
Plymouth Trading Post, Plymouth
Pony Express Remount Station, Woodfords
Portolá Camp at Crystal Springs, San mateo County
Portolá Camp at Gazos Creek, Bean Hollow State Beach
Portolá Camp at Martini Creek, Montara
Portolá Camp at Pilarcitos Creek, Half Moon Bay
Portolá Camp at Pulgas Water Temple, San Mateo County
Portolá Camp at Purisima Creek, Half Moon Bay
Portolá Camp at San Gregorio State Beach, San Gregorio
Portolá Camp at Tunitas Beach, San Mateo County