Either for a day or for an overnight stay at the historic and haunted Hotel Jeffery, the gold mining camp of Coulterville is a pleasant meandering and adventure back to the time of finding nuggets in creeks and spending your earnings during a night on the town. A little over an hour’s drive from Madera, one can peruse unique shops, gawk at gold rush items in what has been called one of the best western museums, or quaff an ale in the Magnolia Saloon.
Coulterville is located on Maxwell Creek, about 20 miles north of Mariposa. But if you’re prone to wooziness on winding roads forget taking Highway 49 from Mariposa, due to the Bagby grade down to the Merced River. It is much easier, though a tad longer, to take J59 from Merced and hook onto Highway 132 into Coulterville.
The location was settled by George W. Coulter in 1850. Coulter lived in a tent flying the American Flag. The Maxwell’s Creek post office opened in 1852. The name Maxwell honors George Maxwell. The two Georges settled the naming of the town with a bet and Maxwell lost.
Like many mining towns, Coulterville was plagued by fires, nearly burning to the ground in 1859, 1879 and 1899. But many historic buildings have been saved, and the entire town has been declared a state historical landmark...