Benson’s Ferry sparks beginnings of Thornton
Benson’s Ferry, shown at right crossing the Mokelumne River, was one of the earliest ferries in San Joaquin County. The settlement that sprouted around the ferry crossing flourished until a great flood destroyed it. Today’s Thornton community eventually developed to the south on higher ground.
- Thornton plans celebration of its history
Thornton will celebrate its 150 years of history on May 17. The community of 900 in northwestern San Joaquin County will stage a daylong event with a pancake breakfast, historical storytelling and displays, a bike rodeo, games, live music, classic cars, food and beverages.
The pancake breakfast will be held from 7 to 11 a.m. in the Thornton Community Hall. The Thornton Fire Department is hosting the breakfast as a fundraiser and the fee is $5 per person.
The rest of the activities will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 26675 N. Sacramento Blvd. Children must bring their own bicycle helmet to participate in the bike rodeo. Country Tradition will provide music while people enjoy displays from local historical societies and listen to stories from longtime Thornton residents. For more information, call 209-794-2144.
Posted: Saturday, May 3, 2014 12:00 am
It was a simple river crossing in the Gold Rush years, but the modest crossing known as Benson’s Ferry sparked the initial settlement that eventually became the town known today as Thornton.
As thousands of eager gold-seekers poured into California in 1849, the old pioneer trails through the Valley became roads. At river crossings, it became necessary to have substantial ferries that could accommodate the wagons, livestock and the increased traffic of miners and suppliers heading to the gold mines in the Sierra Nevada.
Saturday, May 3, 2014 12:00 am.