San Joaquin Valley Argus
October 2, 1875

[From our own Correspondent]

MERCED, Sept 26th 75

EDITOR ARGUS: My last communication was from Hornitos. I must confess that upon entering that town from either point a stranger must experience a disagreeable surprise at its uninviting, dilapidated condition. A town in ruins, reminding one of earthquakes or a Pompeii on a small scale. I would suggest to some of those tastily attired young ladies of the burg that they set out some ivy plants during the wet season. It would lend an air of romance to the little town nestling so cozily among the foot hills to have vines clinging around the grey old ruins. But as the horses dash up the main street and come to a stand still in front of the Hornitos House the scene suddenly changes. For out upon the porch stands the smiling landlady, Mrs. McDougal, looking as fresh as a daisy, attired in a snowy wrapper which is emblematic of the table and bed linen. In fact, everything in and about the house bears the air of perfect neatness. Ah! How refreshing after the long drive from Merced to reach such a haven of rest and plenty. With a cheering smile and pleasant voice you are led through an exquisitely neat parlor to a bright little retiring room, to find a table freshly spread with a fine variety of all the delicacies of the season. Home smoked ham and fresh laid eggs, rich cream, tender young chickens, light bread, sweet butter and pastry not to be excelled in richness and variety even in our first class hotels of  the city. Messrs.Washburn & Chapman are very fortunate in having a lady so well qualified to receive and entertain ladies and gentlemen who visit the Yo Semite Valley by their line of stages. People leaving Merced at 6 o'clock in the morning get weary and hungry by the time they reach Hornitos and Mrs. McDougal has always on hand fresh ripe fruit lunches. Or, if preferred, coffee, tea and something more substantial. The Hornitos house is a temperance house, consequently you find no disagreeable hangers-on sitting around or talking loudly or profanely. Ladies can sit down in the large, airy reading room look over the daily papers and feel perfectly at home. This hotel is one of the prominent features of the Mariposa route. Another is the polite stage drivers and good road. Of course it is dusty, so are all California roads at this season of the year. I find that many persons have an idea that it is still necessary to take saddle horses before entering the valley by the Mariposa route; to such I would say this is a mistake. The stages go all the way and saddle horses are only required while in the valley for the purpose of visiting different points of interest where the distance is too great for pedestrians. I predict an overwhelming rush from the early part of next April until about the last week in June. Also from the first of August until late in the fall. The centennial will bring many or our American people who have lived abroad for years, perhaps long before the Yo Semite became a place of so much interest to the lovers and worshipers of natural wonder of
the nineteenth century thinking to do the centennial and the Yo Semite up in one trip. I suppose Messrs. Washburn & Chapman are fully awake to this fact and are no doubt making preparations for the tremendous in-going and out-coming, and I suppose that vigilant outside sentinel, the Noble Bruce, will be on the gui vive. A little surprise party was gotten up on Monday evening, the 20th inst., at the Hornitos House , and a right pleasant affair it was too, just one of those jolly little home socials where the restraint of more fashionable gatherings is dispensed with; where enjoyment and hearty good cheer take the place of superfluous dress and simple fare gave freedom to the feet and music to the voices. As I watched the graceful movements and mirthful faces of the youthful village rustics how my heart and thoughts went back to the little country gatherings of long ago, and perhaps a little sigh leaves on its breath, "Oh! would I were a girl again, when life seemed formed of sunny years." Yes, I think just such a thought stole up from my heart
as I gazed upon that wreath of youngsters waltzing to the old tune of "Buy a Broom." The young maidens on this occasion were every one clad in pure white dresses, differing in style by red, pink, blue or plaid sashes of ribbon. Being a stranger I can only remember the names of the following young ladies; Miss Edwina Pitzer Miss Pauline Hadlich, Miss Hattie Arthur, Miss Lizzie Hadlich, Miss Rosa Caroringo, Miss Louisa Adams, Miss Louisa Camp, Miss Minnie Caroringo. Among the gentlemen were Messrs Givens, Stockton, Pool, Adams, Pitzer, Clough, Royal, Kirkpatrick and A. Pitzer. A lunch, consisting of coffee, tea and a variety of cakes and pies, was served about eleven o'clock, and at two the last strains of the sweet violin music told of home sweet home, to which the guests
retired with happy hearts to dream that to-morrow be as bright as yesterday. Next week I will conclude the pleasant journey of five days off the railroad.


Contributed by: Thomas Hilk