Kingston, California

Kingston, California

Kingston was a town in Kings County, California that is no longer in existence. It was founded in 1856 by Lucious A. Whitmore who operated the first ferry to cross the Kings River. The town of Kingston grew up around the ferry at the place where an old Spanish road called "El Camino Viejo á Los Angeles" (The Old Road to Los Angeles) crossed the river. Kingston became a stopping place on the Overland Mail Company Stage route between Stockton and Visalia after 1858. Until at least 1872, the only store between Fort Millerton and Visalia was in Kingston. The first school in the area was probably the one established as early as 1860 in Kingston. [Gibson, Harold, "History of Kings County Public Schools", Hanford, CA, 2004]

Oliver H. Bliss operated the Kingston ferry after Whitmore, beginning in 1859. Bliss built a temporary toll bridge with two boats and planking in 1872. In 1873, John Sutherland purchased Bliss's interest in both the ferry and the bridge and built a permanent bridge that year.

On December 26, 1873, Tiburcio Vásquez and his bandit gang made a bold raid, robbing the entire village. Reportedly 35 or more men were tied up and over $2,000 in loot was hauled away. Subsequently, the town declined and by the 1890s Kingston was abandoned. Oliver Bliss' livery stable was the last remaining building and stood until 1930. [cite book | last=Roberts | first=Robin Michael | title=Images of America - Hanford | pages=43-58 | publisher=Arcadia Publishing | location=Charleston, SC | year=2005 | id=ISBN 0738529486]

The site of the town is now a California Historical Landmark (#270), which can be found in Kingston-Laton County Park in Kings County.


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