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