Snelling (formerly, Snelling's Ranch) is an unincorporated community in Merced County, California. It is located on the north bank of the Merced River 15 miles (24 km) north of Merced, at an elevation of 256 feet (78 m). The Snelling Ranch post office opened in 1853, was closed for a time during 1861, and changed its name to Snelling in 1870. The name is from the Snelling family that operated a way station at the place beginning in 1851. Snelling has at least 300 people. Its zip code is 95369 and its area code is 209. Snelling was the county seat of Merced County from 1857 to 1872. The courthouse constructed in 1857 continued to serve as a justice court until the 1990s. The two-story building remains standing today and is a rare surviving example of a simple early California courthouse. In the state legislature Snelling is located in the 12th Senate District, represented by Republican Jeff Denham, and in the 17th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Cathleen Galgiani. Federally, Snelling is located in California's 18th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +4 and is represented by Democrat Dennis Cardoza.