The township of La Grange, French for "The Barn," was established in 1852 near the Tuolumne River. By 1853 French, Chinese, Mexicans, Spanish and Americans were here to mine gold, farm and ranch. About 5,000 people lived in the area. In 1854 Stanislaus County was formed and La Grange was the county seat from 1856 to 1862. It is the only area in the eleven western states to have used all four types of gold mining. Today La Grange is zoned "historic," dedicated to preserving its history. The Inmon Trading Post, built in 1850, houses the local museum, organized in 1989. Close by is the adobe barn and stable, 1850, and the rustic jail, 1856. Above town the St. Louis Mission, 1854, holds mass and maintains its cemetery. Across the street the old school house, 1875, is located in a county park near the citizens cemetery. Below these on Main Street, Hwy 132, is the 1857 IOOF Hall, home to Odd Fellows and Rebekahs. On down Main Street find the 1897 saloon and the 1878 general store. Up river from town is La Grange Dam, tallest overflow dam in the world when built in 1893. Each year the La Grange rodeo, organized in 1948, attracts thousands of fans the first Sunday in April. La Grange Improvement Association began in 1974, continues to represent community interests.