The City of Merced was established in 1872, just a few years after the formation of Merced County in 1855. The arrival of the Central Pacific Railroad through the Central Valley brought a new importance to area and to Merced. It was selected as the new county seat, replacing Snelling, because of the arrival of rail transportation.
Merced has now grown to a population of more than 70,000 and continues to expand. The country’s newest university, the University of California Merced has recently opened. The addition of the University has spurred another era of growth as the city moves into the twenty-first century.