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Mariposa Gold: Our History in Yosemite Mariposa County

There are nuggets of history around every corner in Yosemite Mariposa County! From charming Gold Rush-era towns that still exist today to Yosemite National Park, there is a vein of timeless wonder that runs through this great community.

The ways to experience our rich history are endless. A walk-through old town Mariposa evokes thoughts of swinging doors that lead into saloons and horse-drawn wagons carrying miners and their bullion. A step into our museums details our Gold Rush history that led to the establishment of Mariposa County and its towns. You’ll get a peek into a time when the west was still wild.

We want to provide a portal to this history directly to you through our “Mariposa Gold” video series. This ongoing project will mine the countless stories about people, places and artifacts that make our history so robust.

Explore fascinating items from our museums, learn about special historical locations, and hear about the fascinating stories of the pioneers who settled our area. These videos serve as a virtual expedition for what you can experience first-hand when you visit.

Mariposa Museum and History Center: Fire Grenades

Have you ever heard of a fire grenade? No, not like the ones that start fires in the video games you or your children play. These had far less destructive purposes. Let Chris Allen, a docent and firefighter at the Mariposa Museum and History Center describe these ingenious fire extinguishers in this video.

Mariposa Museum and History Center: Lynn Hill’s Climbing Shoes

Lynn Hill has been described as one of the best climbers of all time. Her historic 1993 first free ascent of the famous Nose route on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park was a landmark event in climbing history, inspiring climbers such as Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell in their own great achievements. This episode of Mariposa Gold is about the shoes Lynn wore during that historic climb, which are on display in the Mariposa Museum & History Center. on loan from the Yosemite Climbing Association.

Mariposa Museum and History Center: Gagliardo Store Museum Exhibit

Ever wish you could visit an old-time general store from America’s past? You can at the Mariposa Museum & History Center Inc. This Mariposa Gold episode provides a glimpse at the Gagliardo store exhibit, which allows visitors to see the old store cases and the very merchandise contained back in the day.

Mariposa Museum and History Center: The Blacksmith Shop

Blacksmithing, a craft dating back hundreds of years, can be seen on display at the Mariposa Museum and History Center when a tour is scheduled. Blacksmithing was an important profession for pioneers in the region and a shop just like the one at the Mariposa Museum and History Center would have been found in many areas of the time.

Mariposa Museum and History Center: National Park Service Roadster

In the early 20th century, America was being transformed by the automobile. In 1914, only 674 autos visited Yosemite National Park, two years later that number quadrupled. By the 1930s, automobiles were quickly replacing rail as the preferred means of travel across the country. The National Park Service adapted to this influx of “auto campers” by providing an auto tour of Yosemite Valley… which is the subject of this episode of Mariposa Gold. Take a short ride with us to learn about the historic park service vehicle on display at the Mariposa Museum and History Center.

Mariposa Museum and History Center: Native Baskets

Native Americans have inhabited the Yosemite Mariposa County region of California for thousands of years. All of their daily needs were provided by the environment around them, and many things involved baskets. Today these baskets, which were made from locally gathered materials, serve as beautiful works of art, but when they were used they had all purposes from storing food, gathering seeds, trapping fish, carrying babies, and even cooking acorn mush. Many examples of baskets from the Yosemite and Mariposa County region can be found in the Mariposa Museum and History Center. This episode of Mariposa Gold features a few of these baskets, as well as other artifacts in the museum’s extensive collection.

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