Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tour of The Yosemite Pioneer History Center at Wawona Part 2

This is our 2nd stop on The Yosemite Pioneer History Center Tour.   It is the artist, Chris Jorgensen's log cabin, called The Bungalow.   Mr. Jorgensen built his cabin in 1903 on the north bank of the Merced River across from the Sentinel Hotel in the Old Upper Village. The cabin was a one-story, one-room structure.  The gable roof was wood-shingled with the front decorative gable end projecting ten feet out from the front wall of the cabin which created a wonderful covered porch area.  The Bungalow was the third structure that Jorgensen built in the valley.  He had built an earlier cottage as a residence in 1900 as well as a separate painting studio.  Jorgensen would remain in this 2nd residence until 1918.

Photo by:  Daniella Thompson

 The cabin was locked up tight but I was able to take a picture through one of the side windows--sorry for the blurriness.

It appears that the National Park Service (established in 1917) may have had something to do with Mr. Jorgensen vacating his cabin in 1918.  It turns out that the NPS had spent a summer in what they felt were inadequate tent quarters in 1917.   Then in 1918,  Mr. Jorgensen suddenly "decides" to move out of his hand-hewn log home and the NPS moves on in.  I don't know, sounds kind of fishy to me.  What do you think?

Anyway, the cabin was made into a clubhouse for members of the National Park Service who converted it into a kitchen and a dining room.  This arrangement lasted until 1921 when the Yosemite Museum was established and took up residence there.  Mr. Jorgensen donated his extensive Native American basket collection to the museum in 1923 and upon his death in 1935 they also acquired 198 oil and watercolor paintings from his family.  The paintings were on display until 1966 when the museum was closed for use as administrative offices.  Unfortunately, since the closure of the museum, neither Mr. Jorgensen's paintings or his other collections have been available for public viewing.

In 1962 the Park Service moved The Bungalow to The Yosemite Pioneer History Museum in the mistaken belief that it was Mr. Jorgensen's painting studio.  Unfortunately, his earlier residence and the actual studio had been razed by the time they figured out their mistake.  Ah, the beauty of our bureaucracy at work.  Oh well, I think The Bungalow is a treasure and I'm glad it survived.

1 comment:

  1. Oh!!! I LOVE Yosemite National Park period!!! I having been there since 2007 and I can't wait to go back. I went for the rock climbing, to be honest, but was surprised by an out-of-this-world Ansel Adams exhibition. There I was in the middle of all the arty types wearing my climbing gear, harness and all *grin* I truly enjoyed my visit.

    The Boyfriend has never been and I'm thinking about surprising him with a trip for, um... my birthday :)


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