Calaveritas, California

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Coordinates: 38°09′29″N 120°36′36″W / 38.15806°N 120.61000°W / 38.15806; -120.61000

Calaveritas is located in California
Location in California
Calaveritas is located in the United States
Calaveritas (the United States)
Coordinates: 38°09′29″N 120°36′36″W / 38.15806°N 120.61000°W / 38.15806; -120.61000
CountryUnited States
CountyCalaveras County
Elevation1,109 ft (338 m)
Reference no.255[2]

Calaveritas ("little skulls" in Spanish; formerly, Upper Calaveritas[3]) is an unincorporated community in Calaveras County, California. It sits on the banks of the Calaveritas Creek at an elevation of 1,109 feet (338 m) above sea level and is located at 38°09′29″N 120°36′36″W / 38.15806°N 120.61000°W / 38.15806; -120.61000. The community is in ZIP code 95249 and area code 209.

Founded by Mexicans in 1849, the mining camp was relatively successful and by 1853, Calaveritas was well established, with one livery stable, two butcher shops, several general stores, restaurants, saloons, gambling halls, and fandango houses. Notorious bandit Joaquin Murrieta was supposedly a frequent visitor to the latter two.

The town reached its peak in 1857, with an estimated population of around 800, the majority being Mexican or Chinese, but on August 3, 1858, a fire destroyed some of the buildings. By this time, the gold production had declined and some of its inhabitants moved to other locales.

The town today is registered as California Historical Landmark #255.[2]

Early on, the town was called Upper Calaveritas to distinguish it from another settlement Lower Calaveritas about 3.5 miles to the west. Lower Calaveritas has since become abandoned.[3]


In the state legislature Calaveritas is in the 8th Senate District, represented by Republican Andreas Borgeas,[4] and the 5th Assembly District, represented by Republican Frank Bigelow.[5] Federally, Calaveritas is in California's 4th congressional district, represented by Republican Tom McClintock.[6]


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Calaveritas, California
  2. ^ a b "Calaveritas". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-10-06.
  3. ^ a b Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 753. ISBN 1-884995-14-4.
  4. ^ "Senators". State of California. Retrieved March 21, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Members Assembly". State of California. Retrieved March 21, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "California's 4th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved February 28, 2013.

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