Hihgly detailed map of Merced, California, at the end of the 19th Century, prepared for hte Pacific Improvement Company.
The tiown if bounded at the north by an "irrigating Canal" which follows the course of Bear Creek. The lands reserved for the railroad are shown in the center of town, with the layout of the town on either side. Town proper is subdivided into lots in the center, with large tracts at the outside. A Warehouse, Stockyard, hotel, fountain, pavillion, and other public buildings are shown, along with a large area for Courthouse square. A number of Cemetaries are shown on the east end of town.
Merced, California, the "Gateway to Yosemite," was incorporated in 1889. The City of Merced was established in 1872, just a few years after the formation of Merced County in 1855. The arrival of the Central Pacific Railroad through the Central Valley brought a new importance to area and to Merced. Merced was selected as the new county seat, replacing Snelling, because of the arrival of rail transportation. In 1875 a new courthouse was completed.
Primarily an agricultural region, the addition of canals and irrigation changed the crops produced in Merced County. The County has long been one of the top agricultural producers in the country with a wide variety of crops grown, as well as dairy production. The City of Merced is ideally located to provide transportation for those crops. It is a crossroads served by two railroads and three highways.
Lott D. Norton was one of the primary surveyors for the Pacific Improvement Company for a number of years, We have encountered his work as early as the 1880s and as late as 1910.