Red Church Called Yosemite Valley Chapel Stands In Yosemite National Park

Red Church Called Yosemite Valley Chapel Stands In Yosemite NP

Red Church Called Yosemite Valley Chapel Stands In Yosemite NP.  The Yosemite Valley Chapel, a public structure built in 1879 is now the oldest building on the Valley Floor. The stated purpose was: “To erect an undenominational house of worship in the Yosemite Valley”. The little New England style church was built under the sponsorship of the California State Sunday School Association.

Mr. Charles Geddes, a leading architect of San Francisco, made and presented the plans. Mr. E. Thomson, also of San Francisco, erected the building at a cost of between three and four thousand dollars. It will seat an audience of about two hundred and fifty. Mr. H. D. Bacon of Oakland donated the bell. The first service was held on June 7, 1879.  The first organ in the Chapel was given by Miss Mary Porter of Philadelphia in memory of Florence Hutchings. Florence was the unofficial, but faithful caretaker of the Chapel during the summer of 1879-1881. She died in a climbing accident at the tender age of 17.

In 1887, on the death of President Grant, a memorial service was held in the Chapel. The organist for the day was Sir Arthur Sullivan. He was a  famed composer and collaborator with Sir William Gilbert in the famous Gilbert and Sullivan light operas. Sir Arthur was visiting in the Valley at the time.  He was asked to assist in the service.

The original location of the Chapel structure was on rising ground near the base of the Four Mile trail.  With the  passage of years, the old Chapel built in the midst of a busy community, lost  its companion buildings.  In 1901, it was taken down and moved to its present site.

The Yosemite Valley Chapel was given Historic American building status by the National Park Service in 1965. Following this, its interior was restored and a new foundation was placed under it.

For more information about having a wedding or service in the Chapel follow this link


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