Welcome to the Mariposa Museum and History Center

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Feb 202011

The Town of Mariposa – A Short History by Tom Phillips

The Mariposa area was said to have been named by a Spanish Priest under the direction of explorer, Gabriel Moraga. Moraga was the leader of a 25-man troop that explored central California in 1806. When he and his expedition came upon a creek laced with thousands of yellow butterflies, they named the area “Mariposa” which was the Spanish word for butterfly.

The Mariposa town site area was first the home to the Southern Miwok Indians. They have lived in the Central California area for untold generations before any Europeans arrived in the Americas.

Juan B. Alvarado Mexican governor of California (1836-1842,) was awarded the “Las Mariposas Grant”. The “Las Mariposas Grant” was a “floating” grant which meant that it had no fixed boundaries. It was ten square leagues (approx. 44,400 acres) located generally on the Mariposa Creek between the San Joaquin, Chowchilla, and Merced rivers and the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

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 Posted by at 11:29 am

Bankhead Donation to Museum

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Feb 122015

Tom Phillips (President), Sylvia Emery (Vice President) and Mike Wenrich of the Mariposa Museum and History Center are pictured above thanking Jack and Ann Bankhead (far left) for their generous donation of $500 that was received this last week. The Bankhead’s have also recently donated two electrical motors, one which replaced defective motor on five-stamp mill and one for the two-stamp mill under construction at the museum.
Jack and Ann, strong supporters of the History Center as evidenced by this and their past donations, are the owners of the historic Mount Gaines Mine that was discovered in 1850 by James Gaines and his two sons. Located in the Hornitos area, the mine produced over 3.5 million dollars in gold in its hay day. Today Mount Gaines is still in operation but it’s producing crushed rock instead of gold.


 Posted by at 5:20 pm