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[Yosemite]

Sentinel Hotel tree location

Discussion about Yosemite National Park history, including Native Americans, Euro-American pioneers and settlement, and establishment as a national park.

Moderators: Wickett, dan

Sentinel Hotel tree location

Postby Amy » Sun Sep 20, 2009 8:52 pm

We'll be going to the park in a few weeks, and I understand you can still visit the tree that stood in the Big Tree Room at the Sentinel Hotel. Can anyone give me some tips on how to find it?
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Re: Sentinel Hotel tree location

Postby dan » Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:13 pm

Go to the Sentinel Bridge (the bridge where Half Dome is reflecting in the Merced River). Head southwest from the bridge on the south-side valley road. You are now in the old Yosemite Village. About the only things left are the old sidewalk on the north side of this road and fire hydrants. North across the road from the chapel (to the west) is a historical sign showing where the buildings were located.

The old Sentinel Hotel site is located immediately west of the south end of the Sentinel Bridge. A part of the hotel is located where the Merced River is now located (it changed course over the years and the hotel in any case has always overhung the river).

The old Cedar House site, where the old incense cedar was located, was across the street from the Sentinel Hotel (on the south side of the road). It was torn down at early 1940s by the CCC. The cedar tree survived until a few years ago when it died (about 2006, give or take a year or two). The cedar tree still stands, although the top is sawed off for safety (so it doesn't crash on the road and kill visitors). The bottom of the cedar tree is still standing and you can still see the nail holes where the roof was attached around the tree. Located around the tree are survey markers attached to boulders showing where the Cedar House building was located.

Editorial comment Sorry, I can't help but editorialize a little bit here. What the National Park Service did was terrible. It destroyed a perfectly good, historical building. It was the oldest building still standing at the time and one of the first hotels in the Valley. Parts of the building were improved by John Muir when he was employed as a "sawyer" and carpenter. The building was destroyed because the historical value was not considered the "greatest use"--the natural value of the valley was considered more important, even for these few square feet. In fairness though, this building would not be destoryed by today's (or any modern) Park Service administration. Today, history is considered a worthy value to preserve in National Parks as well.
Last edited by dan on Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Amy » Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:30 pm

Dan,

Thank you so much for your response..........I was checking my email on my phone yesterday as we were driving towards Sentinel Bridge (literally!) and got an email about your reply. Found the tree and the markers immediately! So thanks again. Your response couldn't have been more timely!

I agree completely with your additional comments. Very sad to see old buildings destroyed. I really felt that as I was standing among the trees, wondering what it was like when the building still stood.
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