Museum open 10 - 2 Fri, Sat, and Sun. Masks recommended.
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.
There will be fun activities for the kids like the watermelon eating contest.
Enjoy traditional barbecue on a warm Labor Day weekend afternoon with your friends.
Big Joe will bring his Happy Time Posse to provide some good foot-tapping music. Dancing permitted!
On Sunday, September 4, STCHS will host the 13th annual edition of its traditional Labor Day Sunday barbecue. The time is from 4 to 7 p.m. The place is the PML Equestrian Center.
The fun is what you bring. There will be activities for the kids (tug of war, watermelon eating contest). There will be tables where you can enjoy traditional summer barbecue with your friends. And there will be some good live music. If you feel the need to get up and strut your stuff on the dance floor, no one will say "no!" Or you can finally learn how to line dance.
You can also buy delicious baked goods at our bake sale. And shop for a range of unusual treasures at the silent auction.
You can buy tickets at the Museum (10 - 2, Fri - Sun) or at the gate. The price is $25 for tri-tip, and $15 for the best hot dog in the Foothills. Beer. wine, and sodas will also be for sale.
Come out and join us for some fun. And support the Groveland Museum with your attendance.
Many visitors to southern Tuolumne County - as well as many local residents - don't know about the importance of gold mining in the history of our area. There are no old mine shafts or rusting equipment along the roadside. The area is known as the "Gateway to Yosemite" and a wonderful recreation center - and not for its mining heritage.
The truth is that the towns of Groveland and Big Oak Flat owe their existence to gold mining from the earliest days of the California Gold Rush. 175 years ago the earth and streams of our community were laden with rich deposits of gold. And venturers came from across the world to find it and build their lives here.
In its new exhibit titled "Built on Dreams of Gold," the Museum seeks to reveal the truth of our community's roots in gold mining. It tells the fascinating story of the area's growth from early gold camps as part of the "Forty Niner" era to its consolidation as a center for "hard rock mining" by the 1890s until the closure of nearly all mines in the early twentieth century.
More than 20 historical photos trace the history of area mining and depict the tens - even hundreds - of mines that once dotted the terrain from Big Oak Flat to Groveland. More than 15 historical artifacts - including a miner's helmet and a gold pan - help convey the reality of being a miner.
Come to the Museum and learn the tale of James Savage who befriended the local indigenous people and was led by them to the first gold deposits in Big Oak Flat in 1849. Or the story of Andrew Rocca, an Italian immigrant, whose siphon technology brought all-important water from the Tuolumne River to the gold camps. Or read about the environmental devastation caused by "hydraulic mining" - erosion scars that can still be seen in the area.
After a two-year break due to Covid, STCHS once again put on its unique "Wine Tasting Cruise" on Pine Mountain Lake on Saturday, May 21. Once again local wineries contributed their wines for a special tasting opportunity. Generous homeowners permitted us to visit their docks for wine and gourmet snacks from equally generous restaurants and volunteers. Volunteer bakers served up enormous quantities of delicious cookies at the Lake Lodge. Our sincere appreciation to every one of them.
Our thanks also to all those who volunteered during the event. The boat owners and captains who ferried guests around the lake deserve special mention. Others who served "backstage" - pouring wine, setting up tables, the thousand little things - were also important for the event's success.
We also express our gratitude to Pine Mountain Lake whose support and staff made it happen in their beautiful natural venue. And - while we're at it - we must thank Mother Nature for providing spectacular Yosemite Gateway weather - warm, sunny, and bright. And a bald eagle flying overhead.
We should also recognize all those attended and supported STCHS with their contributions. We did it for you, but couldn't have done without you!
After twenty years of exposure to the elements the stonework on the sign for the Museum and Library was looking a little under the weather. Some stones had fallen away exposing the concrete. We wanted our "first impression" to visitors to be as positive as possible.
On June 13 the sign had a face lift to replace the stones and repair the concrete to its original attractive condition. By coincidence the work was done by Justen Sudberry and his team who had also worked on the arrastra display in the parking lot many years before. In addition to the sign, the stonework for the display of the Yosemite School bell on the walkway to the Museum was also fixed. Thank you, Justen!
Come by and visit the Museum when you can and admire the new sign.
On Wednesday, April 20, over 100 Tenaya Elementary students visited the Museum and Tuolumne County (Groveland Branch) Library building. The excursion reflected the long-standing Museum commitment to promote education about local traditions among young people. Museum volunteer Kathy Brown dressed in period costume to help our history come alive for the children. With close coordination with Library staff, the students split into small groups to visit both the Museum and the library. The response from the kids was very enthusiastic, and we hope to get many of them to return with their parents soon. Thanks to Virginia Gustafson from Friends of the Groveland Library and Superintendent Mrs. Wynette Hilton for helping arrange this and to their dedicated teachers for safely walking the kids from the school to the Museum.
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 $3 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.