At the height of the Gold Rush, people were flocking to the Sierra Nevada foothills from all over the world.

In 1852, a group of Mexican miners had been expelled from an town called Quartzburg and they ended up settling about a mile, mile and a half downstream, Burns Creek, to this place.

And this place gained a little bit of notoriety because they had two arrastras.

Arrastras are mills that grind up or pulverize precious metals, in this case, gold.

These arrastras were awesome. They both had 30 horsepower engines. They were top of the line for 1858.

German miners in the area were known for making in-ground stone and mud ovens.

Gold panning and gold mining is very difficult work.

A lot of folks passed on before they ever had the chance to make it rich.

The shallow graves that those people were buried in also looked like those German-made mud and stone ovens.

The Spanish speakers in the area would call that oven an “horno”. Or if it was a little bit smaller, they might call it an “hornito”.

So this town was named after those ovens, or possibly those shallow graves.

Hornitos is on the map of Mariposa County.

Oh, by the way, there are several decaying buildings in the community of Hornitos.

This one, believe it or not, was originally run by the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company.

With Josh Dean behind the camera, I’m A.J. Fox.