Mariposa County Points of Interest
The Hornitos jail was probably built in 1851 of heavy stone blocks quarried and transported from nearby hills by Chinese labor.
The three-foot-thick walls rest on bedrock. A huge iron ring is embedded in center of floor and other iron rings are affixed to the walls for shackling prisoners.
The plaque over the door reads:
To remember the Hornitos Calabozo's welcome to the 1854 brethren "Credo Quia Absurdum"
Dedicated by the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus
May 8, 1954
Gold Rush Stonemasons
Mining camps started as clusters of tents and other makeshift shelters. If the mine was productive, wooden buildings were erected and a town was born.
Conflagrations were a recurring curse. Often entire town were repeatedly destroyed by fire. Stonemasons, especially Italian immigrants from Liguria, began building "fire proof" banks and stores of stone or brick with iron doors and iron window shutters to protect the contents from fire.
Many of these stone buildings survive. Some of them, such as the Butte Store, are the sole reminders of a lost mining town.
Some of these buildings are: