Western Ghost town of Hornitos

The Ghirardelli & Co. Ruins

Western Ghost town of Hornitos

The rowdy western ghost town of Hornitos California once had up to 15,000 people in the 1880s. It now sits at a population of 75 as of 2010.

The town has several major claims to fame:

Joaquin Murieta Wanted Poster

– One of the rowdiest towns in the Mariposa Mining District. Citizens from nearby Quartzburg expelled the undesirable elements, who simply moved up the creek to build a new, more prosperous town. It had a big reputation for lawlessness that lead to figures like well known Mexican Bandit, Joaquin Murrieta.

Western Ghost town of Hornitos - The Ghirardelli & Co. Ruins

The Ghirardelli & Co. Ruins in Hornitos California by Wayne Hsieh

Domenico Ghirardelli had a general store to supply the miners here from 1856 to 1859. He sold chocolates here and perfected his recipes before moving to San Francisco and entering the chocolate business full time. The ruins of this building can still be seen.

– The FreeMason Lodge is claimed to be the physically smallest in California, and possibly the United States. It is still active after 160 years.

Hornitos Freemason Lodge No 98

Hornitos Freemason Lodge No 98

In addition, Hornitos is “known” to be haunted. Dozens of stories abound about various ghosts in the town. Most of them murdered or otherwise bad deaths.