Museum open 10 - 2 Fri, Sat, and Sun.
Southern Tuolumne County Historical Society
Groveland Yosemite Gateway Museum
The Southern Tuolumne County Historical Society (STCHS) is a volunteer community organization dedicated to the preservation and celebration of the colorful history of the area “south of the Tuolumne River.” Groveland and Big Oak Flat were 1850s Gold Rush towns which later thrived as a gateway to Yosemite National Park. The centerpiece of STCHS is the Groveland Yosemite Gateway Museum in Groveland welcoming visitors from all over the world, and all year long. STCHS also advances its goals by building preservation projects, community education, and the History Resource Center.
Rachel Sabatine of ATH explained the great taste of "Mueller's Revival" while Harriet Codeglia, Kathy Brown, and Scott Belser of STCHS discussed the history behind the hospitality tradition of southern Tuolumne County.
More than 40 customers enjoyed hearty beer and good friendships at Around the Horn brewery in Big Oak Flat. It was a great place for sharing some warmth on a chilly January night.
The outstanding local craft brewery in Big Oak Flat, Around the Horn (ATH), sponsored a special "beer release" and STCHS fundraising event at the brewery on January 4. ATH titled its newest beer "Mueller's Revival" in honor of Groveland's historical "Mueller Brewery" - named for Eugene Mueller of Bavaria who ran a successful business there from 1865 to 1905. Rachel Sabatine of ATH discussed the origin of the name and the complicated brewing process to make the beer. Harriet Codeglia, Kathy Brown, and Scott Belser from STCHS talked about Herr Mueller and the heritage of fine hospitality and good times in southern Tuolumne County. A special thanks to ATH for the event and for the donation of $1 for every "Mueller's Revival" beer sold!
Recently, with the inspiration of a generous donation of a beautiful stained glass image, we have upgraded our presentation of the important part of our heritage that is the Hetch Hetchy (HH) project of the early 1900s. Groveland was the headquarters of the entire HH dam-building project with numerous HH facilities in the town, such as the workers' hospital and dormitories.
Of special note is the 68-mile-long railroad that transported men and supplies from the Central Valley through the center of Groveland to the dam site east of Groveland. The beautiful stained glass captures the iconic steam engine of the Hetch Hetchy Railroad as it puffs its way to its destination. Now, thanks to the initiative of Board members Dave Roberts and Kathy Brown, its route has now been printed in one continuous map that follows all its twists and turns. Our sincere thanks to them for their energy and vision in realizing this new map.
Interesting artifacts were pulled from the Musuem's collections - such as employee paychecks and a railroad mile marker - to really bring the railroad to life. Additional improvements include more photos and captions that complement the map showing key historical elements along the route. Altogether, the exhibit provides an exceptional glimpse into Groveland's past. Come to the Museum soon to learn and enjoy!
A friend of the Museum, Allan R. Johnson, generously donated a beautiful wooden door with a stained-glass representation of the Hetch Hetchy railroad (HHRR) that was a key part of the Hetch Hetchy project. Allan’s grandfather Julius was a 30-year employee of the Southern Pacific Railroad and inspired his grandson's love of trains, particularly steam trains. Allan Johnson commissioned his father, Dr. Francis S. Johnson, who became a stained-glass artist after retirement, to depict the steam HHRR at work transporting vital supplies to the dam site.
The glass was installed in a wooden door for easy viewing, and now Mr. Johnson has given the door to the Museum as the centerpiece of our Hetch Hetchy exhibit. Dave Roberts built and installed the wood frame to showcase the door. STCHS volunteer Paul Gibson also generously installed a back-lighting system that enhances the visitor's visual experience.
On Sunday, September 3, STHCS held its annual Labor Day Barbecue at the PML Stables. Despite the threat of drizzle and cool temperatures, the Groveland community really turned out to enjoy nice barbecue Tri-tip and hot dogs (for the kids). Their faith was rewarded because the weather was dry and pleasant by the end of the day. The local band Sequoia entertained the crowd and induced not a few to do some line dancing. And for local historians there were vintage photos of the Groveland of yesteryear.
The highlights of the afternoon were the tug of war for the kids and a special watermelon eating contest. Some of the watermelon competitors really "got into their food!"
Our thanks to all the many volunteers who made the event possible - cooking the food and serving the beverages, running the bake sale and silent auction, and generally doing all the hundreds of *behind the scenes" things that make a such an event possible. We're also grateful to the local sponsors whose financial support was invaluable. And, of course, we appreciate the support of the Groveland community members who attended. Thank you and see you next year!
The Museum has recently added a series of "QR codes" to enhance its visitor experience. The codes are increasingly visible in every walk of life, from restaurant menus to information brochures. And they can be used to provide additional opportunities for visitors to learn about the Museum and local history.
With the participation of STCHS volunteers Lindsey Lorant, Kathy Brown, and Scott Belser (pictured), we have just launched a program to provide codes and information links throughout the Museum. Visitors can quickly access information from the Internet on a wide range of topics. The first application is right on the front door for visitors who want more Information about the Museum - for example, if they arrive when it is closed. Other QR codes are being planned inside the building to offer interested visitors additional information on exhibits and historical subjects (such as the Me-Wuk heritage or Gold Rush history).
Special thanks to volunteer Lindsey who has spearheaded the effort.
Edward Coben built this house circa 1900. After the family lived in it for many years, it finally fell into disrepair. In 2008 STCHS was asked to take it over to preserve it.
The Klahn family generously arranged to have wood milled in the original style. After years of waiting, the decorative railings are now gracing the house as they did 100 years ago. Our heartfelt thanks to the Klahns for their support.
Preserving the Edward Cobden House in Big Oak Flat is one of
STCHS's key activities. In prior years, as part of that mission, we undertook a number of repairs and upgrades to the building, including a new roof to replace the 100+ year old original. This year we invested in repairing the porch and railings and refurbishing the ground floor to present as a period bedroom. Our thanks goes to local contractor Tony Armstrong who did a great job and Barbara and Paul Klahn for arranging to mill the railings in the original style. Stay tuned for an "open house" event later this year to welcome the improvements to Big Oak Flat.
On October 19 an arborist crew from Tuolumne County removed a large tree from close to the Museum. With winter coming, we wanted to be sure that it wouldn't fall and damage the Museum. Many thanks to the County!
The Pelton Wheel exhibit was moved to an easy-to-read location at the start of the walkway. No more clutter near the door!
As the Museum re-opens, it is looking to add volunteers to greet and welcome visitors to the Museum. It's a wonderful opportunity to meet people from all over the country and the world. Docents serve at their own schedule with no obligation other than to enjoy themselves. Sign up on the "Docent" page of the website.
STCHS's local history book, Groveland Big Oak Flat, is on sale in the Museum or online. For only $5 shipping, you can send the best of Tuolumne history to yourself or someone you know. With 200+ vintage photos, it's the perfect glimpse into our area's colorful history. Buy online, or send your order form by e-mail.