The town was founded by Antonio Ramirez who built an inn at the place in 1850. The Jolon post office was founded in 1872. Jolon was owned by William Randolph Hearst in the 1920s, who sold it to the US Army, its current owner. The ZIP Code is 93928, and the community is inside area code 831.
Jolon is mentioned in the chorus of the song "South Coast" , as a place you could gamble back in its frontier days.
Jolon is also the setting for John Steinbeck's novel To a God Unknown. The town is not mentioned in the book but is the basis for the fictional town in the book.