Historical Markers in
Mono County, California

The first drive-in movie theater in the world was opened in California in 1933. The theater, called the Drive-In Theatre, was located in Camden, New Jersey. However, the drive-in movie theater became more popular in California and eventually spread across the country.
Mono County, located in Eastern California, has a rich history dating back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Paiute and Shoshone tribes, who depended on the resources provided by the region's diverse ecosystems. European settlers arrived in the area during the California Gold Rush in the mid-19th century, with the discovery of gold in the nearby Bodie Hills.

In 1861, Mono County was officially established, named after Mono Lake, a prominent feature in the region. The county quickly became a popular destination for miners and prospectors looking to strike it rich in the surrounding mountains. The famous ghost town of Bodie grew rapidly, attracting a population of around 10,000 people at its peak. However, the mining boom was short-lived, and by the early 20th century, the mines began to decline, leading to the abandonment of many towns and the gradual decline of the mining industry in the county.

After the mining era, Mono County shifted its focus to other industries such as agriculture, logging, and tourism. The establishment of Yosemite National Park in 1890 and the development of the Tioga Pass Road through the area in the early 20th century brought an influx of visitors to the region, further supporting the growth of tourism-related businesses. The scenic beauty of Mono County, with its stunning landscapes, high mountain ranges, and numerous lakes, continues to attract outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and photographers.

Today, Mono County is renowned for its natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities. It is home to several popular destinations, including the iconic Mono Lake, Mammoth Lakes ski resort, and the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park. With a population of around 14,000 people, the county is known for its small, tight-knit communities that preserve the area's unique history and traditions while embracing the opportunities of modern life.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Mono County, California.

  • 1861 - Mono County is formed from parts of Calaveras County, Fresno County, Mariposa County, and Tulare County.
  • 1862 - The first county seat is established at Aurora.
  • 1864 - Bodie, a famous mining town, is founded and becomes a booming gold mining center.
  • 1866 - The county seat is moved from Aurora to Bridgeport.
  • 1879 - Mono County is hit by a severe drought, causing many farmers and miners to leave the area.
  • 1913 - The Mono Lake Committee is formed to protect Mono Lake and its ecosystem.
  • 1941 - During World War II, the Mono County Airport is built as a military training base.
  • 1950 - The Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area is established to conserve the natural and cultural resources of the Mono Basin.
  • 1984 - Bodie State Historic Park is opened to the public, showcasing the preserved remains of the once-thriving mining town.
  • 1994 - Mono County experiences a significant earthquake, causing damage to buildings and infrastructure.
  • 2002 - Devils Postpile National Monument and the adjacent Rainbow Falls are designated as a National Monument.
  • 2019 - The population of Mono County is estimated to be around 14,200 people.