Old Mariposa

The Charlie Walker Collection

Links to Other Photo Albums     Related Links          Change & Updates

Most of the photos on this page were provided by native Mariposa, CA, resident Ralph Walker. The pictures from his collection were either taken by or collected by Ralph's father, C.J. (Charlie) Walker, who lived from about 1875 to 1928, and had a garage in downtown Mariposa from 1914 to 1928. Most of his photos date from the 1920s. Some older photos were most likely taken by Carlton E. Watkins, a noted photographer who worked in California in the mid-1800s.

The Downtown photos are mostly by the late Frank Boeck, and were taken about 1938. Source and date of Mariposa County Towns and Pioneers are mostly unknown.

Some photo captions include links that take you to a section on this page with additional information.

  
New photo added here February 5, 2014
     
Click photo for a larger view (pictures open in a new window)
Mariposa, looking south, 1920s; Garber house in right foreground (6th Street) View of Mariposa; large white building just to left of center is the old Masonic Lodge, now the 6th Street Cinema Old Mariposa Hospital (where swimming pool is now)

Mariposa, looking south, 1920s; Garber house in right foreground (6th Street)

View of Mariposa; large white building just to left of center is the old Masonic Lodge, now the 6th Street Cinema

Old Mariposa Hospital (where swimming pool is now)

    

Charlie Walker's garage, early 1920s

This is the location of garage before the wood buildings burned down

Schlageter Hotel building, 5th and Highway 140

Charlie Walker's garage, early 1920s (See Note 1)

This is the location of garage before the wood buildings burned down
(See Note 2)

Schlageter Hotel building, 5th and Highway 140 (See Note 3)

    

Merced motorcycle club in Mariposa, about 1924

View of south end of town, from hills east of town

Walker home off Fifth Street just west of Mariposa Creek; road turns left to hospital (where swimming pool is today)

Merced motorcycle club in Mariposa, about 1924

View of south end of town, from hills east of town

Walker home off Fifth Street just west of Mariposa Creek; road turns left to hospital (where swimming pool is today)

               

Another view of Walker home

Old Mariposa Elementary (in the same location as the current school)

Downtown Mariposa, facing north, 1920s

Another view of Walker home

Old Mariposa Elementary (in the same location as the current school)

Downtown Mariposa, facing north, 1920s (See note 4)

     

Jiles home, just south of present day location of Stroming Machinery (house burned down in 1948)

Old muddy road between El Portal and Yosemite

Arch Rock (west entrance to Yosemite) before opening was enlarged to allow passage of vehicles

Jiles home, just south of present day location of Stroming Machinery (house burned down in 1948)

Old muddy road between El Portal and Yosemite

Arch Rock (west entrance to Yosemite) before opening was enlarged to allow passage of vehicles

         

One of the first cars through Arch Rock, Highway 140 entrance to Yosemite

Charlie Walker left rear with Nelson family, at Wawona Tree

Charlie Walker left; Mrs. Washburn holding reins; soldiers from company stationed at Wawona

One of the first cars through Arch Rock, Highway 140 entrance to Yosemite

Charlie Walker left rear with Nelson family, at Wawona Tree (See note 5)

Charlie Walker left; Mrs. Washburn holding reins; soldiers from company stationed at Wawona (See note 6)

          

Tourists at tunnel tree in winter

Gathering at Curry Village in Yosemite, early 1900s

Wawona Hotel in Yosemite

Tourists at tunnel tree in winter

Gathering in Yosemite, probably Mariposa Grove, early 1900s (See Note 7)

Wawona Hotel in Yosemite

        

Baling hay in meadow just south of where Wawona golf course is today

Rangers in front of Wawona Hotel

Old store in Wawona early 1900s

Baling hay in meadow just south of where Wawona golf course is today

Rangers in front of Wawona Hotel

Old store in Wawona early 1900s

         

Inspecting high grade ore from Whitlock Mine (Emmett Preston with beard)

Pioneer miner Emmett Preston

Sheriff John Castagnetto, Judge J.J. Trabucco, Gov. Clement C. Young (served 1927 - 1931)

Inspecting high grade ore from Whitlock Mine (John Preston with beard)

Pioneer miner John Preston

Sheriff John Castagnetto, Judge J.J. Trabucco, Governor Clement C. Young (served 1927 - 1931)

       

Charlie on his favorite horse

Charlie Walker with crew hewing beams for construction in YNP

Charlie and May Walker on their honeymoon in 1910

Charlie on his favorite horse

Charlie Walker with crew hewing beams for construction in YNP

Charlie and May Walker on their honeymoon in 1910

        

Charlie and friends

Mrs. Walker's father Herman Hesse near Boulder Creek CA (He was a US Army sergeant during the Civil War)

Riding the "Go Devil" that crossed the Merced River just above El Portal

Charlie and friends

Mrs. Walker's father Herman Hesse near Boulder Creek CA (He was a US Army sergeant during the Civil War)

Riding the "Go Devil" that crossed the Merced River just above El Portal

       

Swinging bridge across the Merced at

Construction camp at Exchequer Dam, 1925

Merced Falls, 1925

Swinging bridge across the Merced at
El Portal

Construction camp at Exchequer Dam, 1925 (See Note 8)

Merced Falls, 1925 (See Note 9)

             

Mr. & Mrs. Curry and friends leaving El Portal for home in Modesto

Bagby, 1920s

Lumber mill at Merced Falls, 1920s

Mr. & Mrs. Curry and friends leaving El Portal for home in Modesto (See Note 10)

Bagby, 1920s (See Note 11)

Lumber mill at Merced Falls, 1920s

            

John C. Fremont home near Bear Valley

Easter Parade in Hornitos in 1920s

Mormon Bar, 1850s

John C. Fremont home near Bear Valley

Easter Parade in Hornitos in 1920s

Mormon Bar, 1850s (See Note 12
    
Downtown, probably 1920s Town of Carson Hite's Cove Mine, 1911
Downtown, probably 1920s Town of Carson (See Note 13) Hite's Cove Mine, 1911 (See Note 14)
   
Old Mariposa Gazette building Schlageter Hotel - trimming its famous flag pole Water-powered quartz mill near Mariposa, 1850
Old Mariposa Gazette building Schlageter Hotel - trimming its famous flag pole (See Note 3) Water-powered quartz mill near Mariposa, 1850
  
Downtown - Mid 20th Century
Butterfly Cafe and Beer Garden Butterfly Cafe and Beer Garden 2 Butterfly Cafe and Beer Garden 3
Butterfly Cafe and Beer Garden - about 1938 (Frank Boeck photos) (east side of Charles Street)
   
The beer garden The beer garden 2 The beer garden 3
The beer garden
   
Capitol Cafe Capitol Cafe 2 Capitol Cafe 3
Capitol Cafe - west side of Charles Street (Highway 140)
   
Richfield gas station, 6th and Charles Street     Mariposa Theater
Richfield gas station, 6th and Charles Street (current location of Savory's)     Mariposa Theater
   
   Mariposa County Towns

(Mt. Bullion (AKA Princeton), Mt. Ophir, Bear Valley, Hornitos, Indian Gulch, Bagby, Coulterville)

Mt. Ophir mine and mill Marre Store in Mt. Bullion Princeton Mine
Mt. Ophir mine and mill Marre Store in Mt. Bullion (built in 1862) Princeton Mine
   
Princeton Mine; probably last photo taken of mine's exterior works Fremont cottage at Bear Valley in 1858 Oso House, Bear Valley
Princeton Mine; probably last photo taken of mine's exterior works Fremont cottage at Bear Valley in 1858 Oso House, Bear Valley
       
Reunion of old-timers in Hornitos Hornitos Hotel, ready to receive an ex-president (which one is not stated) Main Street, Hornitos
Reunion of old-timers in Hornitos Hornitos Hotel, ready to receive an ex-president (which one is not stated) Main Street, Hornitos, possibly 1913
   
First Indian Gulch school Solari Store, Indian Gulch Whitlock Mine
First Indian Gulch school Solari Store, Indian Gulch Whitlock Mine
   
Town of Whitlock Bagby on the Merced River Original Jeffrey Hotel in Coulterville
Town of Whitlock Bagby on the Merced River Original Jeffrey Hotel in Coulterville
   
Coulterville in 1878 Mormon Bar  
Coulterville in 1878 Mormon Bar (See Note 19)  
  
Pioneers
Francisco Bruschi, Coulterville pioneer Tom Bichard, pioneer miner and philosopher Early day officials in front of Court House 1880s
Francisco Bruschi, Coulterville pioneer Tom Bichard, pioneer miner and philosopher Early day officials in front of Court House 1880s (Click here for names)
    
Captain John S. Diltz, pioneer miner Angevine Reynolds, newspaperman Millionaire miner John Hite and employees
Captain John S. Diltz, pioneer miner (See Note 17) Angevine Reynolds, newspaperman (See Note 16) Millionaire miner John Hite and employees (See Note 14)
   
Galen Clark "the Guardian of Yosemite" Lafayette H. Bunnell, early day miner and man who named Yosemite Rock Greeley and his logging team
Galen Clark "the Guardian of Yosemite" Lafayette H. Bunnell, early day miner who named Yosemite (See Note 15) Rock Greeley and his logging team
   
John Gilmore and his team entering Mariposa in 1879 Galen Clark at his cabin in the Mariposa Grove of redwoods Chinese miners on Mariposa Creek, 1867
John Gilmore and his team entering Mariposa in 1879 Galen Clark at his cabin in the Mariposa Grove of redwoods

Chinese miners on Mariposa Creek, 1867

   
David Clark's home and sawmill First 12-animal team to enter Yosemite The Call of Gold
David Clark's home and sawmill First 12-animal team to enter Yosemite Mariposa history, The Call of Gold (See Note 18)
      
Related Links
Yosemite Photos by Watkins & others John Castagnetto More early Yosemite photos
Tunnel Tree, after it fell Memories of Wawona Washburns & Wawona
Curry Family in Yosemite 21st Century Mariposa Photos More about Delaware North
Mariposa Photo Album Bagby Photos     Hite's Cove Mine
       
Additional Information
    

1. Charlie Walker's garage, early 1920s: The building to the left is the IOOF (Oddfellows) Lodge at the corner of 6th & Highway 140. It later housed the local drug store on the first floor; that building is now a clothing store, Fremont House.

2. This is the location of garage before the wood buildings burned down. The wood buildings on this site burned down; the new building was built with rock walls. C. J. Walker bought the building from Mr. Gann, whose descendents still live in Mariposa. After Mr. Walker's death the building was sold to his daughter and son-in-law, Marge and Jim Dulcich. It was first a restaurant, then a grocery store. The Dulcich's son now operates a hardware store in the building.

3. Schlageter Hotel building, 5th and Highway 140: Built in 1859 by John F. McNamara, destroyed by fire in 1866, rebuilt in 1867 by Herman Schlageter. Presidents Ulysses Grant & James Garfield stayed here. 

4. Downtown Mariposa, facing north, 1920s: The present-day highway extends straight in the direction of the tire tracks, just before they turn, and is lined with businesses for about a mile. When the highway was first built, it turned where the tracks turn, and went past the high school, joining the present route about two miles up.

5. Charlie Walker left rear with Nelson family, Wawona Tree: Mr. Nelson was the resident engineer when the state built Highway 140 from Mariposa to El Portal. The Wawona Tree, AKA the Tunnel Tree, is located in the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias in the south part of Yosemite National Park. A tunnel was cut through the tree in 1881, enlarging an existing fire scar. Two men were paid $75 for the job. The tree had a slight lean, which increased when the tunnel was completed. Travelers would come to have their picture taken either driving through it or standing underneath the tree. It was photographed accommodating everything from horse-drawn carriages in the late nineteenth century to automobiles in the 1960s. The tree fell in 1969 under an estimated two-ton load of snow on its crown. The giant sequoia is estimated to have been 2,300 years old, and is now known as the Fallen Tunnel Tree.

6. Charlie Walker left; Mrs. Washburn holding reins; soldiers from company stationed at Wawona: At various times, the Washburns operated stage coach lines into Yosemite and operated the Wawona hotel. Wawona is located near the south entrance of the park, about 25 miles from Yosemite Valley.

7. Gathering in Yosemite, early 1900s: The caption provided for this photo was "a gathering at Camp Curry." However, after looking closely at the photo, it is clear that there are two redwood trees in the background. These trees did not grow in the valley. It was probably taken at the Mariposa Grove, Yosemite's largest and best known stand of redwoods.

Starting in 1899, Camp Curry was the iconic park concessionaire, manager of the Ahwanee Hotel, store, restaurants, camping cabins, and even a swimming pool, for over half a century. The Curry family sold the company in the 1960s, and it was managed (and mis-managed) by a succession of owners, until the park concession was awarded in a bidding process to the Delaware North Company in 1993.

8.Construction camp at Exchequer Dam, 1925: Exchequer Dam, built on the Merced River between 1924 and 1926, is owned by the Merced Irrigation District and provides water for farming and power generation, as well as recreation for mountain and valley residents alike. The 281,000 acre feet of Lake McClure was increased to over one million with the completion of New Exchequer Dam in 1967.

9. Merced Falls, 1925: Merced Falls was named for a set of rapids on the Merced River which was used in the 1890s to power several mills located in the town. A pair of sawmills in Merced Falls cut lumber for the Yosemite and Sugar Pine Lumber Company, which shipped logs down from the Sierra Nevada on the Yosemite Valley Railroad. The city continued to function well into the 1920s as a hub for tourists traveling into Yosemite Valley via the railroad. With the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad north-south through the Central Valley, Merced Falls and many other towns that were not on the railroad began to decline. The rapids themselves were inundated by McSwain Dam, built across the Merced River in the 1960s, and the community itself is almost abandoned.

10. Mr. & Mrs. Curry and friends leaving El Portal for home in Modesto: The Yosemite Valley Railroad ran from Merced to El Portal, and operated from 1907 to 1946. From El Portal passengers rode horse-drawn carriages on a three hour trip to Yosemite Valley. Later motorized vehicles provided this service, but the completion of Highway 140 from Merced to Yosemite spelled the end for this historic railway. During its operation, the railroad also provided freight service, hauling logs, lumber and minerals down the canyon.

11. Bagby, 1920s: Bagby was a stop on the Yosemite Valley Railroad, as well as a popular recreation site where State Highway 49 crosses the Merced River. The community began as a ferry called Ridley’s Ferry that operated between 1850 and 1852 at or near this location. Then in 1859 Col. John C. Fremont established a 16-stamp ore-crushing mill here, and named the community that grew up at the milling complex on the south side of the river Benton Mills, after his father in law, Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri. In 1890 boarding houses, cabins, a mill building, a post office and a store were established on the north side of the river. The community that grew up there was called Bagby, after B. A. Bagby, a local hotel owner. The completion of New Exchequer Dam and subsequent rise in the level of Lake McClure in the 1960s inundated what was left of the town.

12. Mormon Bar: This community got its name when a company of Mormon soldiers built a log cabin on a hill in the fall of 1848. It is located on Mariposa Creek, south of the junction with Stockton Creek, near the present day fairgrounds. (Carlton Watkins photo)

13. Carson: Carson was located at what is now the junction of Yaqui Gulch Road and Highway 140. It was a mining community with a thriving tannery (Watkins photo)

14. Hite's Cove Mine: Hite's Cove mine was located on the South Fork of the Merced River, and became the center of a dramatic legal battle. The story is told in full in a book The Millionaire Miner and the Indian Girl. This link gives a brief summary. A popular hiking trail leads into the area from Highway 140 near El Portal.

15. Laffayett H. Bunnell: An article from California Med in 1964 recounts the events surrounding Dr. Bunnell's choice of names. You can see a scanned version, or choose a downloadable PDF file.

16. Angevine Reynolds: A former Texas ranger, Reynolds edited the Mariposa Gazette, served as county clerk, and was involved in various business enterprises. There's a nice biography here.

17. John Diltz: Captain Diltz was one of the more successful miners of Mariposa County. His autobiography was included in Newell Chamberlain's history of the area, Call of Gold.

18. The Call of Gold: Many of the pictures here and extensive information about the people and locations pictured are included in The Call of Gold, a history of early Mariposa County by Newell D. Chamberlain. The entire book is available on line, but ideally one should read the recent, annotated version, which corrects some of Chamberlain's errors.

19. Mormon Bar: This is located about two miles south of Mariposa, just off present day Highway 49 South. My best guess is that it dates from the early 20th century. The building on the left was still standing but not in use when I was a young child in the 1940s.

This photo was posted by Mariposa historian Tom Phillips on the Facebook page You Know You're From Mariposa If... This page has hundreds of photos of old and not-so-old Mariposa and its residents, and is well worth a visit.

(Source material includes Wikipedia and many other Internet sites)

     

 

All photos copyright © 2011-2103 by Ralph Walker. Permission is required for any use.

    

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Updated February 5, 2014