“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Bridgeport in Mono County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

First Bridgeport Courthouse

First Bridgeport Courthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, May 25, 2008
1. First Bridgeport Courthouse Marker
Inscription. Located near this site was the first courthouse in the town of Bridgeport. Previously, the county courthouse was in Aurora (the county seat established in 1861) However, a state boundary survey completed in 1863 determined that town was actually in Nevada.

With the relocation of the county seat to Bridgeport in 1864, a new courthouse was needed. A survey of the town revealed only one suitable building – the American Hotel (owned by J. C. Kingsley). Subsequently the hotel was purchased by Mono County and converted into a courthouse, which also housed the offices of all county officials until it was replaced by a larger and more modern facility in 1881.

Many a “Badman from Bodie” saw justice in this courthouse during its tenure (1864-1881). One noteworthy trial resulted in the death penalty, when Chow Yew was convicted of murder on December 12, 1878.

Although, today, only remnants can be found of the first Bridgeport Courthouse, it made a lasting contribution to the legal legacy of Mono County.

Dedicated September 10, 2005
Bodie Chapter No. 64
E Clampus Vitus
Erected 2005 by Bodie Chapter No. 64, E Clampus Vitus.
Marker series. This marker is included in the E Clampus Vitus marker series.
First Bridgeport Courthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, May 25, 2008
2. First Bridgeport Courthouse Marker
(The building in the background is an abandoned house - not the courthouse.)
38° 15.432′ N, 119° 13.397′ W. Marker is in Bridgeport, California, in Mono County. Marker is on Court Street 0.1 miles from California Route 182, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bridgeport CA 93517, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. "Bridgeport Inn" (approx. ¼ mile away); Frontier Justice (approx. ¼ mile away); Old County Jail (approx. ¼ mile away); Bridgeport Chronicle-Union (approx. 0.3 miles away); Mono County Court House (approx. 0.3 miles away); "The Irwin" (approx. 0.3 miles away); Mono County Memorial Hall (approx. 0.3 miles away); Bridgeport Elementary School (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bridgeport.
Regarding First Bridgeport Courthouse. Mono County was formed by the California legislature in 1861 with Aurora as the county seat. The first Mono County Courthouse was in a brick building located there. In September 1863, however, the “Sage Brush Survey” determined that Aurora was, in fact, just across the border in Nevada. Currently a ghost town, Aurora is located about 20 miles from Bridgeport (over dirt roads), and is the site of current mining operations. Only the foundations of some buildings and the graveyard are left.

Choosing to have
Hays Street access to marker image. Click for full size.
By Lester J Letson, September 11, 2010
3. Hays Street access to marker
Marker is on the other side of a creek and is accessible from town by taking this footbridge at the end of Hays Street. Marker can be seen on the left.
a California town as the Mono County seat, the county offices were moved to Bridgeport. The only suitable building existing at the time to house the second Mono County Courthouse was the American Hotel (owned by J. C. Kingsley). No remnants of this first Bridgeport Courthouse, (the second Mono County Courthouse) remain to be seen.

The third Mono County Courthouse, an imposing Italianate structure on Main Street in Bridgeport, is the second oldest continuously-used courthouse in California.

Ceramic models of all three courthouses are located in the Mono County Library on School Street.
Categories. Notable Buildings
Credits. This page was last revised on August 5, 2018. This page originally submitted on June 25, 2008, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 1,947 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 25, 2008, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.   3. submitted on September 23, 2010, by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Pictures of the three ceramic courthouse models. • Can you help?
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