County of Calaveras
—  County  —
Calaveras County CA.jpg
Calaveras County view
Official seal of County of Calaveras
Map of California highlighting Calaveras County.svg
Location in the state of California
Map of USA CA.svg
California's location in the United States
Country Flag of the United States.svg United States
State Flag of California.svg California
Region Sierra Nevada/Gold Country
Incorporated 1850
County seat San Andreas
Largest settlement Rancho Calaveras
 • Total 1,036.84 sq mi (2,685.4 km2)
 • Land 1,020.04 sq mi (2,641.9 km2)
 • Water 16.81 sq mi (43.5 km2)
Population (2010)
 • Total 45,578
 • Density 44/sq mi (17/km2)
Time zone Pacific Standard Time (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)

Calaveras County is a county located in the Gold Country of the U.S. state of California. Calaveras is named for the Spanish word for skulls; the county was reportedly named for the remains of Native Americans discovered by the Spanish explorer Captain Gabriel Moraga. As of the 2010 census, the county had a population of 45,578. The county seat is San Andreas. Angels Camp is the only incorporated city.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, a preserve of Giant Sequoia trees, is located in the county several miles east of the town of Arnold on state highway 4. The uncommon gold telluride mineral calaverite was discovered in the county in 1861, and is named for it.

Mark Twain set his story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", in the county. Each year, the county hosts a County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee, featuring a frog-jumping contest, to celebrate the association with Twain's story. The California Red-legged Frog, feared extinct in the county by 1969, was rediscovered in 2003.


Calaveras County was one of the original counties of the state of California, created in 1850 at the time of admission to the Union. Parts of the county's territory were reassigned to Amador County in 1854 and to Alpine County in 1864.

The Spanish word calaveras means "skulls." The county takes its name from the Calaveras River; it was said to have been named by Spanish explorer Gabriel Moraga when he found many skulls of Native Americans along the banks of the stream. He believed they had either died of famine or been killed in tribal conflicts over hunting and fishing grounds. In fact, the human remains were of the native Miwuk people killed by Spanish soldiers after they banded together to rise against Spanish missionaries. The Stanislaus river is named for Estanislau a coastal Miwuk who escaped from Mission San Jose in the late 1830s. He is reported to have raised a small group of men with crude weapons, hiding in the foothills when the Spanish attacked. The Miwuk were quickly decimated by Spanish gunfire. The writer Mark Twain spent many of his writing years in the county. Its geography includes beautiful landmarks, rolling hills, and giant valleys. It is also known for its friendly communities, and businesses such as agriculture management and construction engineering. It has numerous caverns, such as Mercer Caverns, that are national destinations for tourists from across the country.


According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 1,036.84 square miles (2,685.4 km2), of which 1,020.04 square miles (2,641.9 km2) (or 98.38%) is land and 16.81 square miles (43.5 km2) (or 1.62%) is water.[1] A California Department of Forestry report lists the county's area in acres as 663,000, although the exact figure would be 663,477.949 acres (2,684.999999 km2). There are a number of caverns located in Calaveras County.

California Caverns - Calaveras County

Cities and townsEdit

Former SettlementsEdit

Special DistrictsEdit

Special districts in Calaveras County include:

  • Altaville Cemetery District
  • Altaville-Melones Fire District
  • Angels Camp Fire District
  • Bret Harte Union High School District
  • Calaveras County Air Pollution Control District
  • Calaveras Unified School District
  • Central Calaveras Fire and Rescue Protection District
  • Copperopolis Fire Protection District
  • Ebbetts Pass Fire Protection District
  • Foothill Fire District
  • Jenny Lind Fire District
  • Mark Twain Union Elementary School District
  • Mokelumne Hill Fire District
  • Murphys Fire District
  • San Andreas Fire District
  • Vallecito Union Elementary School District
  • Valley Springs Public Utilities District
  • West Point Fire District.[2]

Adjacent countiesEdit

National protected areasEdit

Transportation InfrastructureEdit

Major highwaysEdit

Public transportationEdit

Calaveras Transit provides service in Angels Camp, San Andreas, and other communities in the county. Intercounty connections are available to Columbia (Tuolumne County), Jackson (Amador County) and Lodi (San Joaquin County)


Calaveras County Airport is a general aviation airport located just southeast of San Andreas.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 16,884
1860 16,299 −3.5%
1870 8,895 −45.4%
1880 9,094 2.2%
1890 8,882 −2.3%
1900 11,200 26.1%
1910 9,171 −18.1%
1920 6,183 −32.6%
1930 6,008 −2.8%
1940 8,221 36.8%
1950 9,902 20.4%
1960 10,289 3.9%
1970 13,585 32.0%
1980 20,710 52.4%
1990 31,998 54.5%
2000 40,554 26.7%
2010 45,578 12.4%


The 2010 United States Census reported that Calaveras County had a population of 45,578. The racial makeup of Calaveras County was 40,522 (88.9%) White, 383 (0.8%) African American, 689 (1.5%) Native American, 571 (1.3%) Asian, 79 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 1,534 (3.4%) from other races, and 1,800 (3.9%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4,703 persons (10.3%).[6]

Population reported at 2010 United States Census
The County
two or
more races
or Latino
(of any race)
Calaveras County 45,57840,522383689571791,5341,8004,703
two or
more races
or Latino
(of any race)
Angels Camp 3,8363,3291248495270123498
two or
more races
or Latino
(of any race)
Arnold 3,8433,59020284636096259
Avery 646604573122438
Copperopolis 3,6713,3183143361283148454
Dorrington 6095760211111833
Forest Meadows 1,2491,1980414072660
Mokelumne Hill 64657131240263066
Mountain Ranch 1,6281,47215331821573123
Murphys 2,2132,0459177108243223
Rail Road Flat 4754110154293441
Rancho Calaveras 5,3254,645481028713195235670
San Andreas 2,7832,453234828183147255
Vallecito 4423980611152133
Valley Springs 3,5533,0473539706179177454
Wallace 40334734102221532
West Point 67456304327293067
two or
more races
or Latino
(of any race)
All others not CDPs (combined) 13,58211,95517923817113466 560 1,397


As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 40,554 people, 16,469 households, and 11,742 families residing in the county. The population density was 40 people per square mile (15/km²). There were 22,946 housing units at an average density of 22 per square mile (9/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 91.19% White, 0.75% Black or African American, 1.74% Native American, 0.85% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 2.07% from other races, and 3.31% from two or more races. 6.82% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 15.7% were of German, 13.0% English, 10.7% Irish, 7.4% Italian and 7.0% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 94.5% spoke English and 4.0% Spanish as their first language.

There were 16,469 households out of which 26.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.9% were married couples living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.7% were non-families. 23.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.85.

In the county the population was spread out with 22.8% under the age of 18, 5.5% from 18 to 24, 22.4% from 25 to 44, 31.1% from 45 to 64, and 18.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 98.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.7 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $41,022, and the median income for a family was $47,379. Males had a median income of $41,827 versus $28,108 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,420. About 8.7% of families and 11.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.6% of those under age 18 and 6.2% of those age 65 or over.

Major EmployersEdit

The major Calaveras County employers include:

250-499 employees:

  • Bear Valley Ski Area[8]
  • Forestry & Fire Protection
  • Mark Twain St. Joseph's Hospital

100-249 employees:

  • Bret Harte High School
  • Ironstone Vineyards
  • Calaveras High School
  • Mark Twain Convalscent Hospital
  • Mountain Machinery[9]

Government and politicsEdit

Presidential election results[10]
Year GOP DEM Others
2008 55.0% 10,974 42.4% 8,464 2.6% 513
2004 60.9% 13,601 37.1% 8,286 2.0% 456
2000 56.1% 10,599 37.6% 7,093 6.3% 1,184
1996 48.1% 8,279 38.6% 6,646 13.3% 2,281
1992 35.3% 6,006 35.3% 5,989 29.4% 4,996
1988 56.3% 7,640 41.8% 5,674 1.9% 260
1984 64.3% 7,632 34.4% 4,081 1.3% 164
1980 58.9% 6,054 29.9% 3,076 11.2% 1,145
1976 49.1% 3,695 47.9% 3,607 3.0% 226
1972 60.8% 4,119 33.5% 2,268 5.7% 392
1968 52.2% 3,042 36.6% 2,134 11.2% 656
1964 41.6% 2,244 58.3% 3,145 0.1% 8
1960 52.6% 2,820 46.8% 2,509 0.6% 32

Calaveras is part of California's 3rd congressional district, which is held by Dan Lungren.

In the State Assembly, Calaveras is part of the 25th district, which is held by Kristin Olsen. In the State Senate, Calaveras is part of the 1st district, which is held by Dave Cox.

Past presidential elections in Calaveras County have displayed preferences for Republican candidates; the last Democrat to win a majority in the county was Lyndon Johnson in 1964, although Democrat Bill Clinton lost the county by only 17 votes in 1992. By contrast, recent elections have seen a sharp upswing in Democratic voter registrations.

Calaveras County is governed by a five member Board of Supervisors.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  2. ^ "Largest Calaveras County Employers". infoUSA. January 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-10. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "2010 Census P.L. 94-171 Summary File Data". United States Census Bureau. 
  7. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  8. ^ "Bear Valley Ski Resort Home Page". Bear Valley Ski Resort. January 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  9. ^ "Calaveras County Largest Employers". usaINFO. January 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-10. 
  10. ^


  • "Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit: 2005 Pre-Fire Management Plan September 28, 2005 Edition," California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, 09-28-2005, pp. 16, 17
  • US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 38°13′N 120°33′W / 38.21, -120.55

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