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Home National & State Parks Yosemite Yosemite’s Historic Wawona Hotel Fountains Spring Back to Life

Yosemite’s Historic Wawona Hotel Fountains Spring Back to Life

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Two signature features of the historic Wawona Hotel in Yosemite National Park in California have been brought back to life for visitors to enjoy for years to come.

The stone fountain in front of the hotel and a fountain at the entrance to the adjacent Thomas Hill Studio are once again flowing following $400,000 in rehabilitation work. Yosemite Conservancy, the National Park Service, and DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc., which manages the hotel, partnered on the projects.

wawonahotelfountain_1"The fountains are important features of the cultural landscape of the Wawona district," said Don Neubacher, Yosemite National Park superintendent. "It's wonderful to see that they've been given new life so that visitors can enjoy part of Yosemite's early history," stated

The Wawona Hotel fountain sits prominently at the center of the hotel's formal circular drive.

Remodeled more than 90 years ago, the main fountain has long been in need of repair and has been covered for years by a protective tarp. A smaller fountain built in 1895 adds character to the entrance of the Thomas Hill Studio, which now serves as the Wawona Visitor Center.

The rehabilitation work brought back each fountain's most recent appearance as well as updating plumbing to contemporary standards with water saving features.

The fountain and reflecting pool in front of the main hotel building, finished in 1918, are on the original location of a first fountain existing prior to 1899. The fountain is circular in plan with a cube-shaped architectural form on top with four of its sides pierced by arched openings. The fountain is made of river cobbles like those that line the entrance drive.

"Yosemite's natural wonders are complemented by historic places like the Wawona Hotel and its fountains," said Mike Tollefson, President, Yosemite Conservancy. "By connecting people to the park through its history, we are improving the visitor's experience today and encouraging people to preserve Yosemite for future generations."

Yosemite Conservancy is the only philanthropic organization dedicated exclusively to the protection and preservation of Yosemite National Park and enhancement of the visitor experience. The Conservancy works to restore trails, protect wildlife through scientific research and habitat restoration, and offers outdoor programs that provide visitors with unique ways to connect with the park.

The Wawona Hotel, opened in 1879 and designated as a National Historic Landmark, is the largest existing Victorian hotel complex within the boundaries of a national park. Today, the Wawona Visitor Center at the Thomas Hill Studio provides information, wilderness permits, books and opportunities to learn more about Hill's work. Built in 1883, it has been an artist's studio and showroom, a dance hall, and even an ice cream parlor.

Wawona Hotel's regional significance in the area of commerce is based on its resort history as a major California hotel catering to Californians, other Americans, and foreign tourists for more than a century.

Famous visitors to the hotel include former presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes, President Theodore Roosevelt, and presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan.

For information about visiting Yosemite National Park, visit the Website at
www.nps.gov/yose .


 
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