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.
Visit Bagby's Historic Sites