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Pioneer Yosemite History Center Online Tour


Gray Barn

Wawona, location of Gray Barn
[click to enlarge]

Wawona, location of
Gray Barn
gray barn, outside view
[click to enlarge]

Gray Barn was originally a garage
In the late 1800’s, Wawona was the largest stage stop in Yosemite. Inbound stages stopped for the night at the Wawona Hotel before making the eight-hour trip to Yosemite Valley. The Washburn Brothers, proprietors of the hotel, used this barn for harnessing and repairing stages.

During the days of stagecoach travel, there were a number of barns, corrals and related structures around here. This is the original location of the “Washburn Barn” built around 1895 by the Yosemite Stage and Turnpike Company. The Company, run by the Washburn Brothers who built the Wawona Hotel, provided transportation between Raymond and Yosemite Valley and to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.

This Gray Barn was built in the early 1920s and served as a garage for the Shell Service Station that once operated on the old Wawona Road, before the Road was relocated over a newer concrete bridge downstream in 1931.


gray barn, inside view with students
[click to enlarge]

Students in ELP class
The Barn was not used for livestock; rather, it housed wagon construction and repair and horseshoeing activities. It contains an overhead windlass for heavy lifting; and at one time had a “stocks” — a framework for holding troublesome horses securely for shoeing. As horse-drawn carriages gave away to horseless carriages, the Gray Barn became a service station known as the Wawona Garage. The Gray Barn may be of homely appearance, but it played an important role during the formative years of Yosemite National park.

On the Fourth of July and other dates in summer, traditional dances are held in the Gray Barn, with callers and “do-si-do” lessons.



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