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History of Yosemite

Early Yosemite

Yosemite history tells that the first white men to look upon Yosemite Valley were members of the Joseph R. Walker expedition of 1833. Evidence shows that this party did not go down into the Valley. There are reports of hunters having entered the Valley as early as 1844, but the effective discovery of the Yosemite was made in 1851 by members of the Mariposa Battalion while in pursuit of hostile Indians.

In early 1850, James D. Savage had a trading post and mining camp on the Merced River some twenty miles below Yosemite Valley. During the spring of that year Indians attacked this post. They were driven off, but Savage abandoned the place and moved his store to Mariposa Creek. He also established a branch post on the Fresno River and built up a prosperous trade. Savage had several Indian wives and obtained quite a remarkable influence over some local tribes. But there were malcontents among them and the tribes in the mountains were suspicious and easily incited to acts of hostility.

The National Park Service was established in 1916. Years later, Ansel F. Hall edited a Handbook of Yosemite National Park after arriving at Yosemite in 1920. He began the Yosemite Museum and the continuous, innovative interpretative programs in Yosemite National Park. Various sections of the Handbook were written by specialists in various fields, such as Willis Linn Jepson's chapters on plants or A. L. Kroeber's section on Yosemite Indians. The chapters contain much detail on park telephone lines and NPS badge designs, and provide concise, authorative information..

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