On The Map: Millerton

On The Map

The name of the town was borrowed, now it is covered with something blue. Although the town is gone, the name remains… on the map.

In the 1850s when the gold rush was at its height, a group from Sonora, Mexico came to the San Joaquin River to established a gold mining village. Because the gold pans they used were made out of roots from plants, they called their community “Rootville”. It’s not very creative, but there you go.

About a mile down river, a new settlement was established that became the first county seat for Fresno County. The town was NOT well known for its good behavior. The most common type of businesses were saloons.

When a courthouse was finally built, the board of supervisors met there but they would take breaks from county business multiple times a day to frequent the next door saloon. The local judge would put court proceedings in recess so he could go watch a horse race. Corruption was rampant in the county government in the 1850s and 60s.

The town’s name was borrowed from the local military outpost, Fort Miller, or Millerton, on the map of Fresno County.

Oh by the way, in 1867 a damaging flood on the San Joaquin River pretty much destroyed the town of Millerton and it never really bounced back. And in 1942 the Friant Dam was built, and that flooded out the entire area. The old town of Millerton is out there somewhere in the middle of the lake. But the courthouse was salvaged. Brick by brick it was moved to the place where it still stands since the 1960s.

And by the way, did you know people say it’s haunted.

With Emily Lucas behind the camera, I’m A.J. Fox.

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