National Register of Historic Places in Mariposa County
LeConte Memorial Lodge is an unusual structure for a national park. Its Tudor Revival architecture and its European character are found in no other building in the National Park System.
Architect John White was influenced by his brother-in-law, Bernard Maybeck. Both believed that the design of a building was largely determined by its site and construction materials. Architectural interest was derived not from decorative detail but from exposed structure of stone and wood.
A building should be at one with its landscape. The verticality of LeConte Memorial Lodge echoes the cliffs surrounding Yosemite Valley.
White, Maybeck, and others of the Bay Area School agreed with English critic and aesthetician John Ruskin that architecture is frozen music. The repetition of architectural elements - engaged piers, hammer beams, scissors trusses - is like musical rhythm or poetic meter.
Excerpted from the NRHP nomination.
LeConte Memorial Lodge was built for the Sierra Club during the summer and fall of 1903 at the base of Glacier Point adjacent to Camp Curry.
Mother Curry, proprietress of Camp Curry, approached the Sierra Club in 1919 about moving the structure at her expense so that she could expand her camp operation. She proudly provided reasonably priced tent frame cabins for visitors to the Valley. Demand for inexpensive accomodations had far outstripped the numbers she could accomodate in the available space she had.
The Sierra Club agreed to moving the building to a site a short distance west of the original location. Gutleben Brothers Construction Company, hired to move the building, dismantled the roof structure and as much of the original stonework as they could. Their German stonemason and a few other workers rebuilt the lodge according to the original plans.
Excerpted from the NRHP nomination.
LeConte Memorial Lodge honors University of California geologist Joseph LeConte, an early Director of the Sierra Club who died in the Valley in 1901. The Sierra Club provided the Valley's first public information center, first at a small cottage in the old Yosemite Village, and then at the LeConte Memorial Lodge. Although styled a lodge by its founders in the traditional meaning of the term as a gathering place (similar to the Elks Lodge or Masonic Lodge), this small stone building has never been used for overnight accommodations, but rather it is a public building used as a library and education center.
A curator and Sierra Club volunteers serve as summer caretakers providing information to park visitors about Yosemite, the Sierra Nevada, and the National Park Idea. Because the rough-hewn roof and granite walls have no insulation, cold and snow keep the building closed during the winter.
Source: Sierra Club
LeConte Memorial Lodge is a National Historic Landmark.
There are four National Historic Landmarks in Yosemite National Park:
Buildings that Moved
It's not just that the people of the American West are restless, the buildings themselves sometimes pack up and move when - for one reason or another - the neighborhood no longer suits them or the neighbors no longer want them or opportunity waits down the road.
And when buildings remain in place, they are often searching for their identities.
Old North San Juan School, North San Juan
Old St. Mary's Church, Rocklin
Old St. Patrick's Church (Moved Twice), San Francisco
Perry's Dry Goods, Gardnerville, NV
Phelps House (Moved Twice), San Francisco
Of the buildings and structures we have visited, the original Reno Arch holds the record for number of moves. It has been moved five times since it was built in 1926.
Jax Truckee Diner holds the distance title. The building moved from New Jersry to Pennsylvanis in 1948, then from Pennsylvania to Califonia in 1992.
Probably the most ambitious relocation occurred on July 4th 1904, when the Southern Pacific Railroad loaded most of the town of Wadsworth, Nevada, onto rail cars and transported the town thirty miles west to create a new town which became known as Sparks.