Town History - Gold Discovery, Early Citizenry, Legends

Historic Sites - Local Ruins, Relics, Buildings & Scenery
      • Bagby Ruins

Travelers' Tips - Directions, Museums, Lodging, &c

Town History

      This location was originally known as Ridleys Ferry, for Thomas E. Ridley who operated a ferry here from 1850 to 1852. Around 1860, the name was changed to Benton Mills, after Frémont’s father-in-law, Senator Benton of Missouri. A report published in 1859 stated that a sixteen stamp mill was crushing 130 tons of ore every day and a forty-eight stamp mill was under construction. The ore from a number of surrounding mines was crushed here during those years, when the town of Benton Mills contained barn-like mill buildings, boarding houses, saloons, cabins, and a store “finely situated on both sides of the river.”
      In 1890 the town was renamed Bagby, in honor of a popular hotel owner, when the post office was established. The town prospered later when it became a scheduled stop of the Yosemite Valley Railroad, which began operation on May 15, 1907 with its first full-length scheduled run. Visitors could take the train up the Merced River canyon to El Portal, and from there continue on to Yosemite Valley by stage.
      Bagby is located just off Hwy 49, where the highway bridge crosses the Merced River.

Travelers' Tips

HomeThe Virtual California Gold CountryBuy the Book(s)!