What's Inside the LeConte Memorial Lodge?
Fisheye View of LeConte Interior - Photo by James MacFarlane
Beautiful Craftsman - style chandeliers and box lighting in keeping with the original architectural style lend a tasteful light to the interior of the Leconte Memorial Lodge. The Sierra Club completed the renovations of the interior lighting system In 1998, replacing antiquated (and ugly!) lighting installed in the 1930's. Focus and exhibit lights were also installed for the library and exhibits. This project was made possible only by the generous donations of donors to the Sierra Club Foundation and the dedicated volunteer efforts of Sierra Club Le Conte Lodge Committee member George Pettit.
The first thing that strikes the eye of the visitor to Leconte Memorial Lodge is the bas relief above the fireplace. This memorial tablet was designed by Douglas Tilden, to honor the eminent geologist Joseph Le Conte, for whom the Lodge is dedicated. The inscription reads:
JOSEPH LE CONTE - SCIENTIST AND SAVANT - DIED IN THIS VALEY JVLY VI-MCMI
A "savant" of course, is a "wise man," and the Roman numerals indicate July 6, 1901, the date Le Conte died in Yosemite on the very first Sierra Club outing.
You'll find interesting historical photographs and displays in
the Le Conte Memorial in addition to the beautiful granite rocks and vaulted
ceiling. The Lodge contains four large exhibit cases, containing information
about the Sierra Club's leading lights, John Muir, Joseph Le Conte, and about
the history of the Sierra Club in Yosemite. Our newest display, on Climate
Change in Yosemite, was installed in 2009.
Offering a quiet respite from a sometimes overcrowded Yosemite Valley, the Le Conte Lodge has incorporated a library since its first operation in 1904. Among the volumes are books about Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada, wildlife, glaciers, and other national parks and wilderness areas. A nearly complete set of the historic Sierra Club Bulletin back to the 1890's is available as well.
A "Children's Corner" completes the interior of the Lodge,
where young visitors can do a little coloring, leaf through Nature books or play with hand puppets and stuffed animals, while their parents peruse the library and displays.
The benches, donated by Smith and Hawken, provide a place for visitors to sit awhile with a book or have a quiet conversation. These benches are re-positioned several evenings each week, when evening programs are featured. A screen for slide shows and films "magically" appears for these events!
Due to the almost "fairy tale" appearance of the Memorial, we are sometimes asked for permission to hold weddings in the building. Such requests cannot be honored, since the Memorial is actively operated as a visitor center with numerous activities every day. For information about weddings elsewhere in Yosemite, contact the National Park Service for a
We think you'll agree that LeConte Memorial has a lot to offer despite its small size! The interior of the LeConte Memorial measures 26' x 35'. See blueprint.
The Sierra Club's Le Conte Memorial Lodge is only open in the summer months, so please remember to come visit us next time you are in Yosemite Valley that time of year!
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.
During the winter, contact LeConte Lodge Committee Chair, Harold Wood, P.O. Box 3543,
Visalia, CA 93278; phone: (559) 697-3525; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Photos: Fisheye View of LeConte Interior - Photo by James Macfarlane; Bas-relief Joseph LeConte, by George Pettit; Visitors looking at displays by Keith Walklet.
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