Who was a naturalist and the first President of the Sierra Club?
2004 is the 100th birthday of the LeConte Memorial Lodge! Our ongoing mission
to inform and engage visitors to Yosemite National Park with the vision
of caring about the world was inspired by the Sierra Club's early
leaders who are so closely associated with Yosemite.
We share the same vision as Joseph LeConte, John Muir, William E. Colby, Ansel
Adams, David Brower, and other early Sierra Club leaders. We hope you will
enjoy and learn from the text and photographs celebrating the centennial:
Centennial Year Celebration!
- Words for Wilderness Around the World.
A special project that encourages visitors
and friends around the Earth to think about and write
50 words about the importance of wild places and
nature in their lives. These words will be collected
and a necklace of green words will circle the globe.
- The completion of the Wilderness Quilt Project. We are now stitching five quilts
from the squares that were painted by visitors of all
ages during the 2002 season. The quilts will be put on display during our 2004 season. One centennial quilt will remain at the Lodge, one will be donated to
Sierra Club headquarters in San Francisco, one will be given to Yosemite National Park, and one will be given to the John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez, California.
- Creating and Installing a LeConte Memorial Lodge
- Increasing the number and quality of books in the LeConte Memorial
Lodge Library through a generous contribution of the Wiebe Foundation.
- Re-creating the original LeConte Herbarium in
digital photo format, a wildflower display for
visitors to study the changing botanical climate of Yosemite National Park. Through
the Artist in the Wilderness Project,
Stephen Joseph, Landscape Photographer, from Pleasant Hill, California, has
been studying and photographing the flora
of Yosemite. An exhibition of the living herbarium
will be on display throughout the Centennial season at LeConte
Would you like to hear news about these projects? Sign up for our free LeConte
Lodge Forum e-mail list.
LeConte Centennial in the News
Sierra Club Lodge Focus of Yosemite Tug of War
By Dean E. Murphy
New York Times July 3, 2004
The gingerbread cookies are baked, the front porch swept and the American flags unfurled. Every detail has been tended to for this weekend's centennial celebration at Le Conte Memorial Lodge, a library and education center here that has been run by the Sierra Club since the days when John Muir was its president.
a Century of Slack-Jawed Awe by Reed McManus, Sierra,
With its Middle-earth-like pitched roof and rough-hewn granite stonework, LeConte Memorial Lodge looks like it's been a part of Yosemite Valley as long as the 3,000-foot-high glacial walls that loom behind it. But the building, a national historic landmark operated by the Sierra Club, was opened a mere 100 years ago.
- Canyon News Desperately Searching For a Reporter To Cover an Assignment 100 Years From Now by Joe Buff Canyon News, July 16, 2004.
I'm sitting on the second story balcony of my Yosemite Lodge room reading the New York Times for Saturday, July 3, 2004, and I'm astonished to find a full page article with photos in the "A" section about the rededication for the second 100 years of the LeConte Memorial Lodge, in Yosemite. I'm intrigued. The New York Times is covering a Sierra Club dedication ceremony in Yosemite? The V.P. of the Sierra Club, Bernie Zaleha, the Superintendent of the park, and other dignitaries will make speeches.
The hoopla is in full swing with music and demonstrations. Kimberly, a park ranger, is "pounding" acorns in bedrock mortar with her daughter, while her husband, Ben, also a park ranger, is making and playing a flute. They're all dressed in1904 garb, including Dr. Bonnie J. Gisel, the Leconte Curator, who is wearing a ground-to-neck black dress. Bonnie gives me the royal tour of the gray granite building near Curry Village.
The lodge was built in 1903 by the Sierra Club to honor geologist Joseph LeConte, a University of California professor who was one of the first scientists to join and support John Muir's theory of the glacial origin of Yosemite Valley. The lodge served as the first visitors' center from 1904 until 1916, when the National Park Service took over Yosemite. I signed the scroll as "Joe Buff-reporter for the Canyon News." The scroll will be put into a time capsule, along with my picture, which will be opened 100 years from now, on July 4, 2104. Bonnie needs volunteers and contributions for the lodge and can be reached at (209) 403-6676 (phone preferred) or E-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a great opportunity for people to become a part of a historic public service.
Information and Donations
For more information, during the summer contact Sierra Club LeConte Memorial Lodge
Curator, P.O. Box 755, Yosemite, CA 95389, 1-209-372-4542; e-mail:
During the winter, contact LeConte Lodge Committee Chair, Harold Wood, P.O. Box 3543,
Visalia, CA 93278; phone: (559) 697-3525; e-mail: email@example.com
Tax deductible donations to support the exhibits and other educational
efforts of the LeConte Memorial Lodge can be made to "Sierra Club Foundation," marked
for the "LeConte Lodge Fund." Please send to: Sierra Club Foundation, 85
Second Street, Suite 750. San Francisco, CA 94105.
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