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LeConte Memorial Lodge - First Permanent Visitor Center in Yosemite Valley & Home of the Sierra Club in Yosemite National Park (PDF) by Bonnie Gisel - from Yosemite Guide, May-June, 2012 (PDF)
LeConte Memorial - A Sierra Club Legacy by Elaine Gorman (PDF) (2012)
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John Muir Fact Sheeet (PDF)
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'Little Joe' Joseph N. LeConte
1896 Tribute to Dr. LeConte
John Muir Exhibit
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Le Conte Memorial Lodge by Steven Finacom
NPS 1985 Theme Study
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Sierra Club Environmental Education Program
LeConte Memorial Lodge 1904-2004

Bonnie Gisel - Curator LeConte Memorial Lodge at Centennial Rededication July 3, 2004

Opening Remarks

Dr. Bonnie Johanna Gisel
Curator, LeConte Memorial Lodge

Remarks at the LeConte Memorial Lodge Rededication Ceremony,
July 3, 2004

            It is with honor that I welcome our distinguished speakers, guests, and friends on this celebratory occasion as we gather to rededicate LeConte Memorial Lodge in service through the Sierra Club to Yosemite National Park, the American people, our many visitors from around the world, and wilderness everywhere.

LeConte Memorial Lodge was built upon the worldview of Dr. Joseph LeConte, his thoughtful scientific study, and love for the natural world.  Dr. LeConte, a charter member and board member of the Sierra Club and a beloved Professor of Geology at the University of California was passionate yet simple.  He possessed an articulate unaffected character, dedicated to making his ideas animate and forceful in the practical world. 

Dr. LeConte rode into Yosemite Valley for the first time in 1870, with eight university students, at the end of the first year of classes at the University of California.  The  summer of 1870 was John Muir’s first summer in Yosemite and for ten days he traveled with Dr. LeConte’s “University Excursion Party.”  Muir was drawn to Dr. LeConte as he would have been drawn to a fine lake or towering mountain.  Sinewy and slender, Dr. LeConte studied the grand show, with a fine poetic appreciation of Nature,  never tiring of gazing at the noble forests, lakes, meadows, and mountains.  He maintained sparkling delight like that of a child, “keeping up running all-day lectures, as if trying to be the tongue of every object in sight.” 

In 1875, Dr. LeConte published his reminiscence of the excursion, A Journal of Ramblings Through the High Sierras of California.  He enjoyed the trip more than any other experience in his life.  Returning to Yosemite many times, he often camped along the Merced River, across from the Royal Arches, under North Dome and Washington Column. 

Dr. Joseph LeConte made his final trip to Yosemite in 1901, as a member of  the first Sierra Club “Outing,” the genesis of excursions intended to recruit new members, provide an opportunity for members to meet and saunter with John Muir, create a spirit of fellowship among Club members, and increase preservation awareness.  In Curry Village during preparations for the trip to Tuolumne Meadows, Dr. LeConte died on July 6.  The author of eight books and two hundred articles on science, religion, and philosophy,  Dr. LeConte, was credited by John Muir, as having inspired, uplifted, and enlightened his students and his community.  His influence spread from mind to mind, heart to heart, age to age, in ever widening circles.

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For more about Dr. Bonnie Gisel:

Return to Rededication Ceremony

Rededication Photos

Re-Dedication of LeConte Memorial Lodge
(Photo Album)

Michael Reynolds, National Park Service, Yosemite National Park
Bernie Zaleha, Vice-President, Sierra Club
Bruce Hamilton, Conservation Director, Sierra Club
Bonnie Gisel, Curator, LeConte Memorial Lodge
Harold Wood, Chair, Sierra Club LeConte Memorial Lodge Committee

Centennial Day Photo Album

Rededication Photo Album

Learn more about the LeConte Lodge Centennial.

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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:

Tax deductible donations to support the new exhibits and renovation efforts of the LeConte Memorial can be made to "Sierra Club Foundation," marked for the "LeConte Lodge Fund."

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