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Trip Planner USA  /  California  /  Knights Ferry

Knights Ferry

4.7
Knights Ferry is an unincorporated historic community in Stanislaus County, California, United States. Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, it is about 40mi east of Modesto on the Stanislaus River. The Willms Ranch, a California Landmark near the town, was one of many filming locations for the television series Bonanza and Little House on the Prairie. It is home to the Knights Ferry Bridge, the longest covered bridge west of the Mississippi at 330ft in length. Today, it is home to a top-rated K-8 Elementary School, and a museum about the history of the town and also about local wildlife. The town's ruins include a mill and a jail.HistoryWhen gold was discovered in California in 1849, Dr. William Knight rediscovered a place which he and John C. Fremont had previously found to be a favorable river crossing, and established a ferry boat there. Soon, the ferry boat prospered and Knight and Captain Vantine built a hotel and trading post near the crossing. On November 9, 1849, Knight was killed by a gunfight on the town's main street; he was buried in an unmarked grave. Knight's family believed Dr. Knight was stabbed to death in his bed and was buried near the gate in the yard of John Dent's house, which was Dr. Knight's place at the time. The Dents immediately took possession of Bill Knight's property at Knight's Ferry following the murder.
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