Agua Fria-Mariposa County

Agua Fria circa 1849-SJVLS” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Mariposa’s Agua Fria

Aside from a few scattered remnants of building foundations and abandoned diggings, there is little tangible evidence to believe that Agua Fria was once a busy trading center for miners and pioneer traders and the seat of government for one-fifth of California.

Originally named for the two cold water springs below ground, this now dry and empty landscape was once booming as Mariposa County’s first seat, between 1851 and 1852. In the early days of California, when mining was the primary industry, the boundaries of Mariposa County extended across the state and south, encompassing what are now the eleven counties of Merced, Mono, San Benito, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Inyo, Kern, part of Ventura and Mariposa.

Today, the area’s storied past is a distant memory. Agua Fria once had a hotel, express office, assayer’s office, banks, billiard rooms, bowling alleys, houses of “ill repute,” dozens of other stores, tents and log cabins. By the mid-1850s, the town was abandoned when the gold diggings went dry. A series of fires swept the town and it was never rebuilt.

Welcome to Yosemite Gold Country!


While this project has, and will, involve many local people in the “telling” of our story, the principle Guide and Story teller is Bob Borchard.

Bob, a third generation native of California, has been exploring Yosemite Gold Country for over 40-years. As a resident of Mariposa and having worked in the County and region for many years, he has a breadth of knowledge of places and people that make Yosemite Gold Country one of the most interesting and colorful regions in the Old West. Bob’s interest in history stems from his study of his family, great-grandfather Christian Borchard, who arrived in the California Gold Fields in the mid-1800s.

The heart of the “explorer” and “adventurer” runs deep in the Borchard family, and Bob, in his compilation of information on Yosemite Gold Country, brings a unique “style” to his documentation that conveys the feeling of being part of this great region and a member of a unique community of artists, performers, and fellow explorers.

Yosemite Gold Country contains information on travel in an area encompassing Yosemite National Park and its Gateway Communities of Groveland/Pine Mt. Lake, Lee Veining, Coulterville, Mariposa, Oakhurst, and Bass Lake along the access route into the Park of State Highways 120, 132, 49, 140 and 41.

Where History Lives