National Register of Historic Places in Mariposa County
Ahwahnee is a Miwok Indian word meaning "deep, grassy meadow."
The hotel stands below the Royal Arches rock formation in a meadow where Miwoks once lived. The site was chosen for its exposure to the sun and views of Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and Glacier Point.
The Ahwahnee was designed by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood who took great care in choosing the materials and the treatment of the materials. The stone, for instance, was weathered granite set in the wall with only the weathered face exposed. This treatment which appeared in the specifications for the Ahwahnee became standard park service practice in rustic buildings where masonry was used.
The exposed concrete was designed to imitate wood in color, form, and texture. Underwood's blocky masses of the building that stepped up the structure to the penthouse gave the building a physical presence in architecture that was parallel to the presence of Half Dome in nature.
Adapted from the NRHP nomination.
The Ahwahnee is a National Historic Landmark.
There are four National Historic Landmarks in Yosemite National Park: