The first female mayor in the U.S. was elected in California in 1887. Susanna M. Salter was elected mayor of Argonia, Kansas, but she was born in California and later moved to Kansas with her husband.
Merced County, located in central California, has a rich and diverse history that stretches back thousands of years. The region was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Yokuts and Miwok people, who thrived on the fertile land along the Merced River. The arrival of Spanish explorers in the 18th century brought colonial influence to the area, leading to the establishment of missions and ranchos.

In 1855, Merced County was officially formed, named after the Merced River that flows through it. The discovery of gold in the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains brought a booming population, as prospectors and settlers flocked to the area. Agriculture became the backbone of the county's economy, with crops such as wheat, barley, and grapes gaining prominence.

The late 19th century marked a significant milestone in Merced County's history with the arrival of the railroad. The Southern Pacific Railroad connected the county with major markets, allowing for increased trade and development. This led to the founding of towns like Merced, Atwater, and Livingston, which quickly grew into thriving communities.

In the 20th century, Merced County experienced further growth and expansion driven by agricultural advancements and the establishment of educational institutions. The University of California, Merced, was founded in 2005, becoming the first research university to be developed in the 21st century in the United States. Today, the county continues to thrive as a thriving agricultural hub and a center for education and innovation.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Merced County, California.

  • 1855 - Merced County is established as one of the original counties of California.
  • 1872 - The Southern Pacific Railroad reaches Merced and helps drive agricultural growth in the region.
  • 1873 - Merced becomes the county seat.
  • 1890 - The first irrigation district is established in Merced County, leading to increased agricultural productivity.
  • 1925 - Construction of the Merced Irrigation District begins, providing a reliable water supply for the area.
  • 1930s - The Great Depression causes economic hardships in Merced County.
  • 1941-1945 - Merced County supports the war effort during World War II, with Castle Air Force Base being established.
  • 1960s - The population of Merced County starts to grow due to increased agricultural activity and the establishment of UC Merced.
  • 1993 - UC Merced officially opens, becoming the first new University of California campus in over 25 years.