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The history of Mammoth Lakes begins before human inhabitance, 200,000 years ago when volcanoes burst the mountain region into existence, the last eruption taking place 50 millenia ago.
The land was hidden from whites and unspoiled by Native American tribes—Paiute, Shoshone, and Washoe—until the mid-nineteenth century, when mining myths and rumors brought an influx of gold speculators to the Californian area. Mammoth City took form with the boom of saloons, hotels, and miner residence. Things slowed down when the hopes of the rush failed to materialize and mills shut down.
The area’s tourist history began in the 1890’s with the commencement of a camp economy. People came to photograph, hike, hunt, ride, swim, and fish in the isolated, pristine environs. It was skiing, however, that moved Mammoth history into a more lucrative phase. Mammoth Mountain was marketed in the mid-fifties, replete with chair lifts and fanatic skiers.
Mammoth Lakes morphed from unincorporated villagedom into its official township title in 1984. With a permanent residency inching towards ten thousand, the population triples on busy weekends.
The tourist town is now a favorite California mountain resort paradise.