#0331 Bear Valley


#0331 Bear Valley

Site information:

On State Hwy 49 (P.M. 29.2), Bear Valley


Plaque information:

Private plaque

Plaque text:

Bear Valley

First called Johnsonville, Bear Valley had a population of 3,000, including Chinese, Cornish, and Mexicans. During 1850-60 when Col. John C. Fremont's Ride Tree and Josephine Mines were producing, Fremont's elegant hotel, Oso House, was built with lumber brought around the Horn. It no longer stands. After a fire in 1888, structures were rebuilt. Some still standing are Bon Ton Saloon, Trabucco Store, Odd Fellows Hall, school house and remains of jail, all reminders of Bear Valley's colorful past.

Dedicated April 20, 1985 Matuca Chapter 1849 E Clampus Vitus

OHP description:

Headquarters of Col. John C. Fremont, world-famous American, who, in 1847, purchased a floating Mexican grant of 44,000 acres for $3000. After gold was discovered, he floated his grant to include the Mother Lode gold belt from Mariposa to Merced River. After costly litigation, his title was confirmed by Supreme Court in 1859. He worked his rich placers by grubstaking experienced Mexican miners before the influx of Americans and subsequently he opened up rich quartz mines. In 1851 he built a two story hotel and later a large store and his home, called "The White House." Horace Greeley visited here in 1859 and wrote "the Colonel is now operating two stamp mills and netting $100,000 a year." In 1863, he sold his grant for $6,000,000.

Registered 8/8/1939