Agua Fria, California

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Agua Fria
Unincorporated community
Agua Fria is located in California
Agua Fria
Agua Fria
Location in California
Coordinates: 37°29′06″N 120°01′13″W / 37.48500°N 120.02028°W / 37.48500; -120.02028Coordinates: 37°29′06″N 120°01′13″W / 37.48500°N 120.02028°W / 37.48500; -120.02028
Country United States
State California
County Mariposa County
Elevation[1] 2,001 ft (610 m)
Reference No. 518[2]

Agua Fria (formerly, Agua Frio, Agua Frie, and Aqua Fria)[3] is an unincorporated community in Mariposa County, California.[1] It is located 5.25 miles (8.4 km) northeast of Catheys Valley,[3] at an elevation of 2001 feet (610 m).[1] Agua Fria is the former county seat of Mariposa County located approximately three miles west of Mariposa, California.


Agua Fria was mainly a mining camp divided into Lower Agua Fria and Upper Agua Fria. The name was derived from two springs of cold water about a quarter mile below Lower Agua Fria (the main part of town). It may have been here that John C. Fremont's men discovered gold in 1849. In 1850, it was a booming trade center and the final destination for many new arrivals in California. It was Mariposa County's first Seat of Justice from February 18, 1850 to November 10, 1851. A post office was established October 7, 1851. In 1853, a 6-stamp quartz mill was established in Upper Agua Fria. The camp boasted a hotel, express office, assayers, billiard room, bowling alley, monte and faro banks, about a dozen stores, numerous tents and log cabins by the fall of 1850. The population started to decline by the mid-19th century, and the city suffered destructive fires and was never rebuilt.[citation needed] Agua Fria means "cold water" in Spanish.[4]

A post office operated at Agua Fria from 1851 to 1862.[3]

Present status[edit]

Agua Fria is a ghost town with little to see but grassy meadows. It is accessible via Agua Fria Road to Mount Bullion and the site of Princeton. It's also a nice alternate route into Mariposa. The site today is private property, and is a California Historical Landmark (#518).[2]


  1. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Agua Fria, California
  2. ^ a b "Agua Fria". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-10-09. 
  3. ^ a b c Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 739. ISBN 1-884995-14-4. 
  4. ^ William Bright; Erwin Gustav Gudde (30 November 1998). 1500 California place names: their origin and meaning. University of California Press. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-520-21271-8. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 


External links[edit]

Whitlock, Mariposa