The Leavitt House
The old Leavitt House, now the Bridgeport Inn, has been a popular stop since its construction in 1877. Hiram L. Leavitt, a native of New Hampshire, hired builder Sam Hopkins to supervise the construction of his new family home.
The Leavitt family had settled in Indian Valley (now known as Leavitt Meadows) on the West Walker River in 1865. When Hopkins had completed the house, Leavitt brought his family and his stage stop business with him to Bridgeport. Hiram remained a prominent citizen of Bridgeport, even serving as Judge of Mono County. He lived in the home until he died in 1901 at the age of 77. After the Leavitt House was finished, Sam Hopkins began a family of his own, marrying Hirams daughter, Ida.
The White Lady
Sarah, a young woman distraught by her fiancée accidental death a short time before their planned wedding, still roams the Bridgeport Inn in Room 16. It was there, dressed in her white wedding gown, that she hung herself.
Trappers, explorers and emigrants discovered the Bridgeport Valley beginning about 1827 when a party led by Jedediah Strong Smith crossed the Sierra and picked up gold in the foothills around Mono Lake.
John C. Fremont led several expeditions across the Sierra. One journey, begun in May 1843 in Kansas, resulted in Fremont, along with his guide, Kit Carson, camping in the Bridgeport Valley before continuing on to cross the Sierra and arrive at Sutter’s Fort on March 8, 1844.
Seven miles south of Bridgeport, the first placer gold mining settlement in the Eastern High Sierra was formed at Dogtown in 1859 . A settlement of 70 Mormon families sprang to life in short order, but the small town lasted just a few years; the gold played out, and the miners moved a few miles further south to Monoville.
In the late 1850’s, rich gold and silver deposits were also discovered in nearby Bodie, Masonic and Aurora. Modern day prospectors continue to look for gold on the slopes of 12,374 foot-high Dunderberg Peak, considered the source of the Dogtown placer gold.
Mono County & Bridgeport
Mono County was formed by the California legislature in 1861 with Aurora as the county seat. In September 1863, however, the “Sage Brush Survey” — after much debate — determined that Aurora was, in fact, just across the border in Nevada. Choosing to have a California town as the county seat, the county offices were moved to Bridgeport.
The Bridgeport Courthouse, a masterpiece of Victorian architecture, along with the Bridgeport Inn, has dominated the town of Bridgeport since its completion on April 1, 1881, and remains today as one of the few structures that reveal what was once the New England appearance of old Bridgeport.
Today, Bridgeport is the jumping-off point for northern Mono County adventures and attractions, as well as nearby Nevada Casinos and Mammoth Mountain skiing. Modern US Highway 395 provides easy access to the north (Reno-Tahoe), south (Death Valley, Los Angeles and Las Vegas), east (Salt Lake City), and west (Yosemite and Sonora).
Travelers going South to Death Valley and Las Vegas, or those going North to Lake Tahoe and San Francisco, stop and visit for a day or two to enjoy nearby historic sites. Families, motorcyclists, retirees, artists, photography buffs, car club members and vacationers all come to the Eastern High Sierras to enjoy the snow-capped mountains, clean streams, wildflowers, and the rugged remains of the early-California.