City of Madera and Madera Ranchos - Highways 99 and 145
"Madera" is the Spanish word for "lumber", the first industry in the county. The mountain area is rich in the history of the 1859 California Gold Rush towns, with such names as Coarsegold, Finegold, Grub Gulch, Ahwahnee and Nipinnawassee. In 1856, Madera became a California county. The discovery of gold brought the first big wave of immigrants, most of them placer miners who worked along the streams that were rich in precious metal, and soon a new mining era came with the development of hard-rock ledge mining for gold, silver and copper.