Project goal: Repair the crumbling living-room fireplace in Yosemite’s 100-year-old Rangers’ Club, a National Historic Landmark.
Why this work matters: The Rangers’ Club, located across from Yosemite Village in Yosemite Valley, opened in 1920 through an early act of park philanthropy: Stephen Mather, the first director of the National Park Service, personally donated the funds to build the club. The two-story wood-framed chalet, built in the National Park Service “rustic style” of architecture that reflects natural surroundings, was designed to house park staff — a role it continues to serve, 100 years later.
Throughout the past century, residents and guests have gathered around the focal point of the Rangers’ Club living room: a stone fireplace. While other parts of the club have benefited from restoration work over the years, the fireplace, a feature that helped the building earn its National Historic Landmark designation in 1987, has fallen into disrepair. Mortar has tumbled out of the hearth; a crack mars the lintel, the structurally important stone block that spans the fireplace opening; and a patchwork of informal repairs has left unattractive scars ill befitting the fireplace’s history.
The fireplace clearly needs some careful attention. This project aims to restore the fireplace’s structural integrity and historical character, repair rustic stonework, and prevent future deterioration.
How your support helps: Your donations will help the park’s historic preservation experts save the 100-year-old fireplace. With your support, the crew will repair the hearth, using special techniques to match historically used materials; fix and stabilize the cracked lintel; and as a finishing touch, reinstall the original fireplace tool holder. Their work will make an actively used fireplace more welcoming — and safe — while ensuring a key element of the building’s historic designation remains structurally sound for years to come.
Partnering with Yosemite National Park.