Yosemite Valley History

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Human History of Yosemite Valley

Over the past few centuries, humans have made major contributions to the development of Yosemite Valley, both intentional and unintentional. From the Native Americans creating a life in Yosemite Valley, to the first non-Native American people to set eyes and go into Yosemite Valley, humans had a major impact on the valley that we are so familiar with today. Many people also helped in increasing the popularity of Yosemite, which eventually helped it to become a national park.

The first people to live and see Yosemite were the Miwok Indians. The Miwok had lived throughout the central Sierra Nevada Mountain Range for thousands of years. Yosemite Valley’s natural resources alone were able to support about 200
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They were made up of cedar bark strips that were placed close together. The entrance of these huts were always facing east in order to “greet the sun”, and a fire was kept to keep the hut warm. A major part of the Ahwahneechee culture was basket making. Unlike other Native American tribes in the United States, the Ahwahneechee did not utilize pottery. Instead, baskets were made an essential part of their lives. The baskets were used for many significant tasks such as storing food, collecting trash, transporting firewood, trapping fish, and more. Basket weaving was not a mere casualty in the Ahwahneechee tribe, it was more of an industry. Half of the plants harvested by these Native Americans were used to fabricate baskets.

Even though the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range was discovered by non-Native Americans a long while ago, it was not until around 1834 when the first non-Native American eyes set sight on Yosemite Valley. After the United States Army sent off a 58-man exploration of the Sierra Nevada mountains, in hopes of reaching the base of the mountains, the men came across Yosemite Valley. They never actually entered the valley; however, since Yosemite Valley is one of the most well concealed geographic locations of California, it was a miracle that those men laid eyes on the
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In 1855, after hearing about the Mariposa Battalion’s expedition of Yosemite Valley, a man named James Hutchings hired two Native American guides to take him to this magnificent place. Upon his return, he published his experience in newspapers as a “luxurious scenic banqueting”. He began to publish the Hutchings’ California Magazine and became the most reliable voice in regards to Yosemite. The issues of his magazine, which comprised of a total of 60 issues, helped to make Yosemite extremely famous. Hutchings and his wife obtained the Upper Hotel in Yosemite, which he had visited on one of his travels, and renamed it the Hutchings House. The entire Hutchings family, including James and Elvira’s children, operated the hotel. Whether he meant to or not, Hutchings played a major role in creating the Yosemite Grant, which was a law that set Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove as protected wilderness

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