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“The Yohamite Falls, California.”

Ballou’s Pictorial Drawing-room Companion, May 21, 1859

Ballou's Pictorial [masthead]
  BOSTON, SATURDAY, MAY 21, 1859.   $2.50 PER ANNUM
Vol. XVI, No. 21 . . . Whole no. 413.


The Famous Yohamite Falls, California.
The engraving on this page will serve to give the untravelled reader some ideas of the scenery in the wildest and most romantic part of the land of gold. The Yohamite valley is in Mariposa county. This valley is most fertile in its nature, is evergreen, ornamented with immense trees, and watered by a beautiful clear stream. It is surrounded by rocks, some of which rise perpendicularly ot a height of upwards of 3000 feet. At one extremity the river Merced enters the valley over the rocks, precipitating itself 3100 feet into the depths below. This is accomplished by one great plunge of 2100 feet, and two other minor ones of 200 and 400 feet respectively. It is by far the highest waterfall in the world, and when swollen by the rains, pours down a vast volume of water. We are too apt to associate California with one idea, and to regard it simply as a gold-producing country. Its vast riches, independently of its mere gold production, its great resources, and the general features of the whole country, are neither sufficiently known nor rightly appreciated. Apart from its mineral abundance, it is a fact that there is hardly any country so bountifully endowed with agricultural advantages, more productive in its soil, or finer in its climate. The atmosphere is clear, and there are no violent extremes of heat and cold. The scenery of the country is of the most varied description. In the interior there flourishes a vast and magnificent vegetation, not of the luxuriant and overgrowing kind commonly met with a tropical regions; on the contrary, the country in general consists of fine, open fruitful valleys, dotted here and there with clusters of large trees, something like an English park; or of mountainous regions more or less covered with forest vegetation , which is partly evergreen. In the spring wild flowers, in endless variety of sizes, forms and colors, cover the hills and valleys; and the most delicate and rare flowers cultivated in Europe as hothouse or garden plants are here found in the greatest variety and boundless profusion. Among the most extraordinary of all vegetable phenomena is the Wellingtonia gigantea, or mammoth-tree, unrivalled in size, and most beautiful in its growth, rising to heights varying from 250 and 350 to 450 feet, displaying a stem from 30 to 45 feet in diameter.

Bibliographical Information

“The Yohamite Falls, California,” Ballou’s Pictorial Drawing-room Companion, vol. 16, no. 21, whole no. 413, page 325 (Boston, Mass.: M. M. Ballou, May 21, 1859). Published as microfilm in American Periodical Series (APS) III (1850-1900), unit 9, reel 251 (University Microfilms International).

The author of this article is unknown, however it may be by Reverend F. C. Ewer, D. D., of New York and San Francisco. This is based on a reference from John Hittell”s book Yosemite: Its Wonders and Its Beauties: “F. C. Ewer, who wrote the first long description of the scenery, in 1859 . . .”

Digitized by Dan Anderson, October 2004. These files may be used for any non-commercial purpose, provided this notice is left intact.
    —Dan Anderson, www.yosemite.ca.us

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