Hornitos was established around 1849 or 50 when Mexican miners were driven from nearby Quartzburg, where American miners held the belief that foreigners had no rights to mining claims. It was so named for Mexican graves that were built of adobe and rock above the ground, resembling small ovens or hornitos. Ironically enough, rich discoveries were made at Hornitos and soon a rush was on to the community while Quartzburg declined.

Hornitos quickly grew, but retained its Mexican influence as evidenced by the town's central plaza. The town soon had four hotels, six fraternal halls, six general stores, one of the first Wells Fargo offices in the region, a post office, and a number of saloons and fandango houses (dance hall) along with a supposed population of over 10,000. Hornitos also sported a reputation as a dangerous, lawless place; lynching, knife duels, and other crimes were common and famed outlaw Joaquin Murieta was a frequent visitor. Other events for entertainment included bull and bear fights or La Carrera del Gallo.

As time passed, Hornitos slowly faded. Today only about 75 people live in town, but a large number of original buildings from the 1850s make Hornitos a worthwhile trek off the major highways.

I Visited Hornitos