California County Seats From 1850 to Present, County by County
|Alameda County||Alvarado* 1853-1855
San Leandro* 1855
San Leandro* 1856-1872
Oakland 1875 to the present
|Alpine County||Silver Mountain City* 1864-1875
Markleeville 1875 to the present
|Amador County||Jackson* 1854 to the present|
|Butte County||Chico* 1850
Bidwell Bar* 1850
Bidwell Bar* 1853-1856
Oroville 1856 to the present
|Calaveras County||Pleasant Valley* 1850
Double Springs* 1850
Mokelumne Hill 1852-1866
San Andreas 1866 to the present
|Colusa County||Monroeville* 1851-1854
Colusa 1854 to the present
|Contra Costa County||Martinez 1850 to the present|
|Del Norte County||Crescent City* 1857 to the present|
|El Dorado County||Coloma* 1850-1857
Placerville 1857 to the present
|Fresno County||Millerton* 1856 to 1874
Fresno 1874 to the present
|Glenn County||Willows 1891 to the present|
|Humboldt County||Uniontown* 1853-1856
Eureka 1856 to the present
|Imperial County||El Centro* 1907 to the present|
|Inyo County||Independence 1866 to the present|
|Kern County||Havilah 1866-1874
Bakersfield 1874 to the present
|Kings County||Hanford 1893 to the present|
|Klamath County||Trinidad* 1851-1854
Crescent City* 1855
Orleans Bar* 1855-1875
|Lake County||Lakeport 1861-1867
Lower Lake 1867-1870
Lakeport 1870 to the present
|Lassen County||Susanville 1864 to the present|
|Los Angeles County||Los Angeles 1850 to the present|
|Madera County||Madera 1893 to the present|
|Marin County||San Rafael* 1850 to the present|
|Mariposa County||Agua Fria* 1850-1854
Mariposa 1854 to the present
|Mendocino County||Ukiah* 1859 to the present|
|Merced County||Snelling 1855-1872
Merced 1872 to the present
|Modoc County||Alturas* 1874 to the present|
|Mono County||Aurora* 1861-1864
Bridgeport 1864 to the present
|Monterey County||Monterey 1850-1873
Salinas 1873 to the present
|Napa County||Napa* 1850 to the present|
|Nevada County||Nevada City 1851 to the present|
|Orange County||Santa Ana 1889 to the present|
|Placer County||Auburn* 1851 to the present|
|Plumas County||Quincy* 1854 to the present|
|Riverside County||Riverside 1893 to the present|
|Sacramento County||Sacramento* 1850 to the present|
|San Benito County||Hollister 1874 to the present|
|San Bernardino County||San Bernardino 1853 to the present|
|San Diego County||San Diego 1850 to the present|
|San Francisco County||San Francisco 1850 to the present|
|San Joaquin County||Stockton 1850 to the present|
|San Luis Obispo County||San Luis Obispo 1850 to the present|
|San Mateo County||Belmont 1856
Redwood City 1856 to the present
|Santa Barbara County||Santa Barbara 1850 to the present|
|Santa Clara County||San Jose 1850 to the present|
|Santa Cruz County||Santa Cruz 1850 to the present|
|Shasta County||Redding’s Ranch* 1850-1851
Shasta City* 1851-1887
Redding 1887 to the present
|Sierra County||Downieville* 1852 to the present|
|Siskiyou County||Yreka 1852 to the present|
|Solano County||Benecia 1850 to 1858
Fairfield 1858 to the present
|Sonoma County||Sonoma 1850 to 1854
Santa Rosa 1854 to the present
|Stanislaus County||Adamsville* 1854
Empire City* 1854-1856
La Grange 1856-1862
Knight’s Ferry 1862-1872
Modesto 1872 to the present
|Sutter County||Oro* 1850
Yuba City 1854
Yuba City 1856 to the present
|Tehama County||Tehama 1856-1857
Red Bluff 1857 to the present
|Trinity County||Weaverville* 1851 to the present|
|Tulare County||Woodville 1852-1853
Visalia* 1853 to the present
|Tuolumne County||Stewart* 1850
Sonora 1850 to the present
|Ventura County||Ventura* 1872 to the present|
|Yolo County||Fremont* 1850-1851
Woodland 1862 to the present
|Yuba County||Marysville 1850 to the present|
California County Seats
From 1850 to Present, in Alphabetical Order
|Adamsville* 1854||Stanislaus County|
|Agua Fria* 1850-1854||Mariposa County|
|Alturas* 1874 to present||Modoc County|
|Alvarado* 1853-1856||Alameda County|
|Auburn* 1851||Sutter County|
|Auburn* 1851 to present||Placer County|
|Aurora* 1861-1864||Mono County|
|Bakersfield 1874 to present||Kern County|
|Belmont 1856||San Mateo County|
|Benicia 1850-1858||Solano County|
|Bidwell Bar* 1850 and 1853-1856||Butte County|
|Bridgeport 1864 to present||Mono County|
|Brooklyn* 1872-1875||Alameda County|
|Cacheville* 1857-1861||Yolo County|
|Chico* 1850||Butte County|
|Coloma* 1850-1857||El Dorado County|
|Colusa 1854 to present||Colusa County|
|Crescent City* 1855||Klamath County|
|Crescent City* 1857 to present||Del Norte County|
|Double Springs* 1850||Calaveras County|
|Downieville* 1852 to present||Sierra County|
|El Centro* 1907 to present||Imperial County|
|Empire City* 1854-1856||Stanislaus County|
|Eureka 1856 to present||Humboldt County|
|Fairfield 1858 to present||Solano County|
|Fremont* 1850-1851||Yolo County|
|Fresno 1874 to present||Fresno County|
|Hamilton 1850-1853||Butte County|
|Hanford 1893 to present||Kings County|
|Havilah 1866-1874||Kern County|
|Hollister 1874 to present||San Benito County|
|Independence 1866 to present||Inyo County|
|Jackson* 1850-1852||Calaveras County|
|Jackson* 1854 to present||Amador County|
|Knight’s Ferry 1862-1872||Stanislaus County|
|La Grange 1856-1862||Stanislaus County|
|Lakeport 1861-1867; 1870 to present||Lake County|
|Los Angeles 1850 to present||Los Angeles County|
|Lower Lake 1867-1870||Lake County|
|Madera 1893 to present||Madera County|
|Mariposa 1854 to present||Mariposa County|
|Markleeville 1875 to present||Alpine County|
|Martinez 1850 to present||Contra Costa County|
|Marysville 1850 to present||Yuba County|
|Merced 1872 to present||Merced County|
|Millerton* 1856-1874||Fresno County|
|Modesto 1872 to present||Stanislaus County|
|Mokelumne Hill 1852-1866||Calaveras County|
|Monroeville* 1851-1854||Colusa County|
|Monterey 1850-1873||Monterey County|
|Napa* 1850 to present||Napa County|
|Nevada City 1851 to present||Nevada County|
|Nicolaus* 1850-1851 and 1852-1856||Sutter County|
|Oakland 1875 to present||Alameda County|
|Orleans Bar* 1855-1875||Klamath County|
|Oro* 1850||Sutter County|
|Oroville 1856 to present||Butte County|
|Placerville 1857 to present||El Dorado County|
|Pleasant Valley* 1850||Calaveras County|
|Quincy* 1854 to present||Plumas County|
|Red Bluff 1857 to present||Tehama County|
|Redding’s Ranch* 1850-1851||Shasta County|
|Redding 1887 to present Shasta County||Shasta County|
|Redwood City 1856 to present||San Mateo County|
|Riverside 1893 to present||Riverside County|
|Sacramento* 1850 to present||Sacramento County|
|Salinas 1873 to present||Monterey County|
|San Andreas 1866 to present||Calaveras County|
|San Bernardino 1853 to present||San Bernardino County|
|San Diego 1850 to present||San Diego County|
|San Francisco 1850 to present||San Francisco County|
|San Jose 1850 to present||Santa Clara County|
|San Leandro* 1855-1872||Alameda County|
|San Luis Obispo 1850 to present||San Luis Obispo County|
|San Rafael* 1850 to present||Marin County|
|Santa Ana 1889 to present||Orange County|
|Santa Barbara 1850 to present||Santa Barbara County|
|Santa Cruz 1850 to present||Santa Cruz County|
|Santa Rosa 1854 to present||Sonoma County|
|Shasta City* 1851-1887||Shasta County|
|Silver Mountain City* 1864-1875||Alpine County|
|Snelling 1855-1872||Merced County|
|Sonoma 1850 to 1854||Sonoma County|
|Sonora 1850 to present||Tuolumne County|
|Stewart* 1850||Tuolumne County|
|Stockton 1850 to present||San Joaquin County|
|Susanville 1864 to present||Lassen County|
|Tehama 1856-1857||Tehama County|
|Trinidad* 1851-1854||Klamath County|
|Ukiah* 1859 to present||Mendocino County|
|Uniontown* 1853 to 1856||Humboldt County|
|Ventura* 1872 to present||Ventura County|
|Vernon* 1851-1852||Sutter County|
|Visalia* 1853 to present||Tulare County|
|Washington* 1851-1857; 1861-1862||Yolo County|
|Weaverville* 1851 to present||Trinity County|
|Willows 1891 to present||Glenn County|
|Woodland 1862 to present||Yolo County|
|Woodville 1852-1853||Tulare County|
|Yreka 1852 to present||Siskiyou County|
|Yuba City 1854 and 1856 to present||Sutter County|
Notes on Individual County Seats
These are notes on county seats listed above marked with an asterisk. Included here are county seats which are difficult or impossible to find on current maps of the State of California. These communities no longer exist or they have changed names.
Adamsville in Stanislaus County was south of the Tuolumne River just east of the San Joaquin River. A State historic landmark plaque is southwest of Modesto.
Agua Fria, former County seat of Mariposa County, was 1/4 mile north of Carson Creek, a tributary of Agua Fria Creek. State historical landmark No. 518 is at 4189 State Highway 140, 3.2 miles west of Mariposa.
Alturas was first known as Dorris Bridge.
Alvarado’s tenure as Alameda County seat was interrupted in 1855 when San Leandro became the county seat as the result of a contested election. When a court ruled the election invalid, Alvarado again became the county seat, but a valid election followed, again making San Leandro the County seat. Alvarado is now a district of Union City.
Auburn became the county seat of Sutter County in 1851, but very shortly afterwards that part of the county was made part of the new Placer County.
Aurora is in Nevada. California’s middle eastern boundary was difficult to survey, partly because of the mountains and partly because one end of the boundary was in Lake Tahoe where it is difficult to place a surveyor’s tripod. Eventually it was discovered that Aurora was about three miles outside of California and thus not an appropriate county seat for Mono County.
Bidwell Bar in Butte County is now under the waters of Lake Oroville fed by the Feather River.
Brooklyn is now part of the City of Oakland. It is immediately south and east of Lake Merritt.
Cacheville in Yolo County was a community on Cache Creek, previously called Huttons, then renamed Cacheville at the time it was designated the county seat. It is now known as the town of Yolo.
Chico became the Butte County seat based on a provision in the 1850 statute creating counties that the Butte County seat would be Butte or Chico, whichever was chosen by the voters at the first election for county judges.
Coloma became the El Dorado County seat based on a provision in the 1850 statute creating counties that El Dorado county seat would be “Colloma” or Placerville, whichever was chosen by the voters at the first election for county judges. The spelling in the statute was “Colloma” but the name was later changed to “Coloma”.
Crescent City was the county seat of Klamath County. When the seat was moved to Orleans Bar, that action strengthened an effort to establish Del Norte County with Crescent City as its county seat. That reduction of Klamath County to mostly very steep mountain mining country with an often moving population, and with officials considered not always honest, contributed to the eventual death of Klamath County in 1875.
Double Springs of Calaveras County is no longer an active community but has a state historical landmark plaque on Highway 12 and a private plaque on Double Springs Road 3.6 miles east of Valley Springs.
Downieville is the Sierra County seat, but the Board of Supervisors each month has one meeting in Downieville and one meeting in Loyalton, a larger city many miles away.
El Centro, in Imperial County, is the most recently created county seat and the lowest in elevation, several feet below sea level.
Empire City in Stanislaus County was at the head of navigation of the Tuolumne River and contained a naval supply depot. The city was destroyed by flood 1861-1862. State Historical landmark plaque 418 is a tenth of a mile south of Empire on Highway J-7.
Fremont in Yolo County was on Sacramento River south of present Knights Landing. Yolo County’s Fremont should not be confused with the very different city in Alameda County created in 1956.
Jackson in Amador County and Jackson in Calaveras County are the same city, the county seat in different counties at different times.
Millerton in Fresno County is now under the waters of Millerton Lake behind Friant Dam.
Monroeville did not become the Colusa County seat promptly after the county was created because Colusa County was first attached to Butte County for judicial purposes. The location of former Monroeville is now in Glenn County at the mouth of Stony Creek on the west side of the Sacramento River, about 20 miles north of the present Colusa County.
Napa was described as Napa City in the Statutes of 1850.
Nicolaus had three terms as Sutter County seat. Between its first and second terms Auburn and Vernon served as county seats. Between its second and third terms Yuba City served briefly.
Orleans Bar, formerly of Klamath County, is now known as Orleans. It is on the Klamath River in Humboldt County.
Oro was very briefly the Sutter County seat. It was about two miles from Nicolaus. Although approved by the state legislature as the county seat, at the time of the approval it had no buildings. It existed only on paper, supported by a smooth talking state senator.
Pleasant Valley was designated as the Calaveras County seat when the county was created, but the name of the community was soon changed to Double Springs. Its site was close to the present community of Valley Springs. The Calaveras County community formerly named Pleasant Valley should not be confused with the present communites of the same name in Alpine and El Dorado Counties.
Quincy was known as American Ranch until it became the county seat.
Redding’s Ranch in Shasta County is now called Redding.
Sacramento was described as Sacramento City in the Statutes of 1850.
San Leandro’s tenure was interrupted in late 1895 and early 1896 by Alvarado.
San Rafael did not become the Marin County seat promptly after the county was created because Marin County was first attached to Sonoma County for judicial purposes.
Shasta City is now known as Shasta. It is the last city to lose its designation as a California county seat.
Silver Mountain City in Alpine County was about 15 miles south of Markleeville on Highway 4, past the Monitor Pass junction. As you head south, the only landmark is on the left hand side of the highway in a small fenced area with some stone blocks. It is very easy to miss.
Stewart, previously known as Senoranian Camp, is now known as Sonora.
Trinidad, formerly the county seat of Klamath County, is now in Humboldt County.
Ukiah did not become the Mendocino County seat promptly after the county was created in 1850 because Mendocino County was first attached to Sonoma County for judicial purposes.
Uniontown in Humboldt County is now known as Arcata, the city in the county with the second largest population.
Ventura is the common name, but the city charter uses the name San Buenaventura.
Vernon was in southern Sutter County near the community of Verona. Vernon in Sutter County should not be confused with the City of Vernon in Los Angeles County which has the smallest population of California’s 473 cities. It had 85 people in 1999.
Visalia was a county seat with no specific boundaries when it was first designated as the county seat. After it became incorporated, Tulare County proposed to construct a new courthouse outside, but adjacent to, the city limits. A court determined that action was not a violation of the county seat statute since Visalia had no precise boundaries when it was designated as the county seat.
Washington in Yolo County was later called Broderick, across the river from Sacramento.
Weaverville did not become the Trinity County seat promptly after the county was created because Trinity County was first attached to Shasta County for judicial purposes.