Kings County Apartments for Rent(hide county information)
One might be led to think, upon hearing that California’s Kings County was indirectly named after the Three Wise Men, that we might find a wealthy city, or at least a little bit of gold. Ironically, Kings County is primarily agricultural and best known for landmarks that are no longer there.
Kings County was formed in 1893 by the state legislature, taking land from the western part of Tulare County. It was named after El Rio de los Santos Reyes, or River of the Holy Kings, a river discovered in 1805 by a Spanish army expedition. After the American conquest, its name was changed to Kings River.
Approximately 125 miles long, this major river runs from the high western Sierra Nevada and the Central Valley and divides into distributaries. Northern distributaries join the San Joaquin River, eventually reaching San Francisco Bay.
The southern distributaries flow down to what was once Tulare Lake, the largest freshwater lake in western North America. The lake, originally a basin of almost 14,000 square miles at the south end of the San Joaquin Valley, received water from not only the Kings River, but the Kern, Tule and Kaweah Rivers as well. Because of increasing diversions for irrigation for agriculture, the lake is now dry.
Although the town of Kingston, California is no longer in existence, it’s the site of a California Historical Landmark. Once located on the south bank of the Kings River at Whitmore’s Ferry, 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 and became a stage coach stop and resource for supplies. In 1873, a gang of Mexican bandits raided the entire village, tying up more than 35 men and hauling away more than $2,000 in loot was hauled away. Kingston never recovered, and by the 1890s Kingston was abandoned.