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Yosemite Nature Notes - 13 - Rangers' Club

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So I started working in Yosemite in 2005,
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and the first year that I was here
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I lived in the Ranger Club.
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I wasn't really familiar with this building or its history.
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I remember walking into the living room here
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and seeing all these neat little lights and this dark wood,
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this craftsman style,
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and just... immediately was kind of blown away
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by how charming and intimate this space was.
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It is the first building designed for the Park.
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It was designed by the Park Service for the specific purpose
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of a Park Service government function;
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that function being to house Park Rangers.
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The Park was a park for over 50 years
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before the National Park Service was actually established,
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and one of the things that had happened in those first 50 years
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was there was just kind of a haphazard development
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over in the South village area.
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From 1890 to about 1914,
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the whole Park was managed and run by the Cavalry.
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The Cavalry and the Army set up various forms of housing,
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various forms of structures,
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particularly down by where Yosemite Lodge is today.
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In 1916, this new agency was created,
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The National Park Service,
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and the first Director was a man named Stephen Mather.
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Stephen Mather was a self-made millionaire,
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and he was so motivated
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for there to be a home for the Rangers in Yosemite
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that he used his own money
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to pay for the construction of the Rangers' Club.
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Mather hired architect Charles Sumner to design this building
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to serve as a clubhouse for the Rangers,
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and also to start to set the tone
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for what the rustic design theme for the Park would be.
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When you look at this steep roof,
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the pitch of the roof and the detail that was done here
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when Charles Sumner was hired in the Nineteen teens,
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he was asked to develop something that was unique,
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that would fit the character of the National Park;
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the philosophy of thinking, the granite,
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and the snow during the wintertime,
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and the mountains,
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the thinking was, let's incorporate into this structure
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influence of the Tyrolean,
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Tyrolean meaning Austrian Alps,
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you can see some of that European influences
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picked up here.
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