Every year, more than 250,000 people travel back in time at the Pioneer Yosemite History Center in Wawona. The story they see there, however, is largely limited to that of European-American settlers.

In past years, donors have funded grants to restore the center’s log cabins, replace a replica stage coach and reshape the trail leading to the nearby visitor center. Through this 2019 grant, the park took another important step in improving the center, by shedding light on lesser-known parts of the park’s pioneer past.

With your support, park crews restored a structure that once served as a laundry house staffed by Chinese laborers. As they rehabilitated the building, including by repairing damaged siding and eaves, and replacing the roof and porch, they worked to preserve the structure’s historic character. Park staff also designed new educational exhibits to share stories of diverse people who played a part in the park’s early years, and are preparing to open the restored building to the public.

Your gifts helped preserve important Yosemite stories and structures, encourage visitors to connect with the park’s pioneer era in a new way.

Completed in partnership with Yosemite National Park.

Tom Darcy

Facilities Management, Yosemite National Park

Project Notes

The Pioneer Yosemite History Center was developed in 1959 by Chief Park Naturalist, Douglass H. Hubbard, designed to provide an interpretive experience for park visitors to become familiarized with 100 years of Yosemite's human history. Douglass Hubbard had a vision to make the Wawona site representative of the era of traveling on horse and living a meager life in a rustic cabin.