NAME: Carson
COUNTY: Mariposa
CLIMATE: Snow in winter, and heat in summer
COMMENTS: Don't blink or you will miss Carson, on Hwy 140, 4 mi. west of Mariposa.
REMAINS: foundations, rock pilings
Carson (known variously as Carson, Carsons, Carsontown, Carson Flat, and Carson Creek) was a thriving town by 1850, about 4 miles west of Mariposa. Today’s Highway 140 runs through the flat, but Carson was built on the old Gold Rush-era road to Mariposa, a small section of which was used in constructing Hwy. 140. Modern Yaqui Gulch Road was paved over the trace, which runs in a north-south direction to its intersection with the Old Highway--the southern terminus of the famous Mother Lode, and conduit to the great San Joaquin Valley. Alex Godey, a guide for Fremont, discovered gold in Carson Creek in 1849, on what was the boundary of his renowned floating Las Mariposas Grant. The town derived its name from the creek (a tributary to Agua Fria Creek) named by Godey for his associate Kit Carson. Diarists of the early ‘50s describe the town that sprung up during the gold excitement as comparable to Mariposa in terms of solid structures and amenities. Even though Carson was less than a mile from Agua Fria, Mariposa County’s early seat of justice, the place became a noted harbor for gamblers, prostitutes, horse thieves, robbers and murderers. Aside from drinking and gambling, favorite past-times in Carson included horse races, chicken fights, and bull and bear fights. There were located here several cantinas and gambling houses as well as houses of prostitution. The town’s existence was a volatile one, the problem being either a lack of water to wash the pay dirt, or an overabundance of the same. A tannery and general store continued to prosper after the local placers were depleted, but eventually disappeared. Today a handful residences and a roadside memorial to Agua Fria occupy the flat, but a few stone foundations are all that remain of the all but forgotten settlement of Carson. Submitted by: Joshua Reader