It's difficult to imagine what Agua Fria must have looked like during its peak, when a dozen stores, numerous monte and faro banks, a billiard room, bowling alley, and hotel provided for the needs of the hundreds of miners who once swarmed over the land in their search for gold. According to an eyewitness, miners were "camped in every direction for five miles from the common center...in tents and huts of every description." It's difficult to imagine because nothing remains from those days, even though the camp served as the first county seat of Mariposa County from February 18th of 1850, to November 10th of 1851, a sign of its early importance.
Discovered by Sonoran miners in the early summer of 1849, Agua Fria was one of the earliest settlements on Colonel John C. Frémont's Las Mariposas grant. Named for two springs of cold water located at a bend of the creek, the placer deposits of the area were rich, but like most of the placer camps in the region were soon worked out. As the miners drifted off to other camps, Agua Fria's importance dwindled, and in 1852 the county seat was moved to Mariposa as the result of a county-wide vote, after a mandate by the State Legislature required all county sets to be determined by the registered voters of that county. Thereafter, the town vanished as rapidly as it had appeared, eventually leaving no trace of its existence.
Agua Fria is located four miles out of Mariposa via Hwy 140.
A Stone Monument stands by the side of Hwy 140 near Yaqui Gulch Road, bearing a brief epitaph in memory of Agua Fria, the once prosperous mining camp and county seat that has long since become a complete "ghost" town. The monument does not mark the sit of the camp; however. It was located a little way northwest, about one-fourth of a mile off Hwy 140 via Agua Fria Road.