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California Counties

The state of California is divided into fifty-eight counties. On January 4, 1850, the California constitutional committee recommended the formation of 18 counties. They were Benicia, Butte, Fremont, Los Angeles, Mariposa, Monterey, Mount Diablo, Oro, Redding, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Sonoma, and Sutter. The last California county to have been established is Imperial County in 1907.

Mono County, California

Mono County Education, Geography, and HistoryMono County, Califronia Courthouse

Mono County is a county located in the east central portion of the state of California. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 14,202. making it the fifth-least populous county in California. The county seat is Bridgeport. Mono county was created April 24, 1861. The county is named after Mono Lake. Mono Lake is named for an Indian tribe that inhabited the Sierra Nevada from north of Mono Lake to Owens Lake.

Etymology - Origin of Mono County Name

The county is named after Mono Lake, which, in 1852, was named for an Indian tribe that inhabited the Sierra Nevada from north of Mono Lake to Owens Lake. The tribe's western neighbors, the Yokuts, called them monachie, meaning "fly people," because the pupae of a fly was their chief food staple and trading article.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Mono County History

The County of Mono was formed by an act of the Legislature on April 21, 1861 from parts of Calaveras County, Fresno County and Mariposa County. The county seat is in the town of Bridgeport, where most of the county offices are located in an historic courthouse built in 1880.

Parts of the county's territory were given to Inyo County in 1866.

Mono County was the first of the mining counties to be organized as such on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains in the state of California. The county seat is in the town of Bridgeport. Most of the county offices are located in Bridgeport, in the handsome and historic courthouse which was built in 1880.

Located in the east-central section of California, Mono County averages 108 miles in length, reaching from the Alpine County border to the north to the Inyo County border to the south. The average width of the county is 38 miles from the crest of the mighty Sierras to the Nevada state line on the east. Mono county land area is 3,030 square miles, 80% of which is Federally owned. Much of this land is contained in the Inyo and Toiyabe National Forests. The summer and fall visitors enjoy many diverse activities such as fishing, hunting, camping, hiking and some of the most spectacular scenery found in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The county is a land rich in the history of the early days of the state and the west. Winter visitors engage in snowmobiling, skiing, and various other winter sports at two of the best winter sports and skiing areas to be found in the entire country. These areas are located at Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain.

Mono Lake, "The Dead Sea of Mono" appropriately called by poets and writers alike, "Mono's Mountains of the Moon", is vibrantly described in the famous book "Roughing It" by Mark Twain. The lake is a captivating and rare body of water lying at the beginning of a chain of 21 extinct volcanic cones. The lake burrows in a basin created by massive volcanic action. Wide thermal activity still exists in the area surrounding the lake itself. In the center of this lake lie two islands, Negit and Paoha, that were formed by ancient volcanic action. Mono Lake and the nearby area is famous for its water fowl population and thousands of seagulls use the area for one of the largest rookeries in the west.

Mono county is able of accommodating a much larger population than it now has and in its strategic position as the center of a huge scenic area along US Highway 395, between the populated areas of Southern California and the equally interesting and beautiful cities of Nevada. Mono County is drawing an progressively large number of permanent residents who recognize its healthful and enjoyable rewards.

Mono is known as the eastern gateway to Yosemite National Park. Traveling over the famed Tioga Pass that leads from the Mono Lake area to the floor of the well-known valley of Yosemite may be found some of the most remarkable scenery in the western United States.

The ghost town of Bodie is located seven miles south and thirteen miles east of the town of Bridgeport, the County seat. Bodie is now a State Historical Park, a National Historic Site and a California State Historical Landmark. Bodie was known as the wildest, meanest and toughest of all the gold camps of yesterday's west. The ghost of the "Bad Man From Bodie" still lives in legend along the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. State Park Rangers are in constant attendance to assist visitors.

A beautiful  highway crosses the southern portion of Mono County through the scenic areas of old Benton and Chalfant Valley. This highway connects with U.S, Highway 395 at the town of Bishop thereby affording an outstanding opportunity for persons travelling to California from the east to visit Mono County by turning north on US Highway 395.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,132 square miles (8,111.8 km2). 3,044 square miles (7,883.9 km2) of it is land and 87 square miles (225.3 km2) of it (2.79%) is water.

The land is rough, mountainous and outstanding. In  general, Mono is a large plateau, 5,500 to 7,000 feet above sea level bordered on the west by the Sierra Nevada Mountains and on the east by the Bodie Hills and the White Mountains. The Sweetwater mountains lie along the northeastern border and the rough White mountains are located on the extreme southeastern corner of the county. Lying between these high mountain boundaries are steep canyons, broad valleys, many crystal clear lakes of glacial formation and sage brush covered semi-desert land. The Sierra Nevada boundary is dominated by three soaring peaks which rise to an elevation of over 13,000 feet; Mt, Dana, the tallest, Mt, Lyell and Castle Peak. Land drainage in the county is achieved by the East and West Walker rivers to the north and by the Owens river to the south; and also by countless Sierra streams.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Lyon County, Nev.
  • Northeast: Mineral County, Nev.
  • East: Esmeralda County, Nev.
  • Southeast: Inyo County
  • Southwest: Fresno County; Madera County
  • West: Tuolumne County
  • Northwest: Alpine County; Douglas County, Nev.


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