The Stoneman House,

as seen through the Mariposa Gazette

October 24th, 1885


Plans for the building Adopted by the Commissioners.

The special meeting of the Yosemite Commissioners was attended, at their office in San Francisco, October 15th, by every number of the Board, with Governor Stoneman presiding. It was ordered that $3,500 of the amount appropriated by the last Legislature to the Oak Flat Yosemite toll road, be paid for that part of the road lying within the Yosemite Grant which has been completed.

W. E. Dennison, the Guardian of Valley, was instructed to make climatic observations in the winter season.

The matter of selecting plans for the proposed hotel came up, and a great number were presented from which the Board was to choose. The main objection to the majority of the plans was that they were for buildings that could not be constructed for the prescribed $40,000. After much careful deliberation the plan of E L. Chandler, of Los Angles, was adopted. It is for a three-story framed, with attic, embracing sixty-five rooms. There is a porch across the front and ends, and balcony above to match.

For other work that is to be done in the Valley, the Commissioners announced that they will advertise for bids in the usual manner.

Yosemite Valley.

A correspondent of the Bulletin thus writes of the site for the State’s Hotel in Yosemite Valley:

"While I was in the Yosemite a committee from the Commissioners of the Valley visited it for the purpose of examining the different sites recommended for the new hotel. The one which has been chosen is very beautiful, under the shadow of Glacier Point, near a lovely grove of pines and with a living spring in easy distance. I was told that this spring, at its source, spouts up several feet above the gound. The view from this place is almost unsurpassed; indeed. I believe there is only one other spot on the floor of the Valley from which as much of the stupendous Yosemite scenery can be seen, and that is the marshy meadow between Cook’s and Barnard’s hotels. Here, of course it would be impossible to build a hotel."

November 28th, 1885


The Commissioners Accept the Bid of a Sacramento Firm.

The Executive Committee of the Yosemite Commissioners resumed their discussion yesterday of the bids for erecting the new hotel in the Yosemite Valley, with J. W. Raymond in the chair. Governor Stoneman, T. P. Madden, W. B. May, J. M. Griffith, E. W. Chapman and W. H. Mills of the Committee were present. The San Francisco Bridge Company proffered a bid of $35,542, and requested in the bid that a suitable advance be made for machinery and other requisites. The committee informed them no advances under the law could be furnished, but payments on account would be made as the work progressed in the following ratio: When one-fourth of the expenses was incurred, the Commissioners would pay one-fifth; when the second quarter of expenses was incurred, another one-fifth and so on. The Bridge Company amended their bid to read 25 percent of contract price to be advanced on filing bonds, another 25 percent when materials for the hotel were on the ground, 25 percent on the building being covered and the balance on completion. If their bid was refused the Bridge Company asked permission to with draw their bid. The Commissioners again refused to advance anything and returned the Company their deposited check for $1,000.

Carle, Croly & Abernethy of Sacramento bid $38,975, accepting all conditions and offering $30,000 bonds J R. Skinner of Los Angeles (by Attorney) presented a bid of $39,100. Robert F. Simpson bid $39,621.

The contract was given to Carle, Croly & Abernethy of the lowest bidders. Work will begun about the first of April next, if the weather permits. The contract calls for completion of the work by October, 1887. The work for next year will be confined to putting up a sawmill for getting out lumber, making the necessary clearings and excavation and general preparations. All the lumber used must be prepared in the Valley, and will have to season before fit to use.

September 4th, 1886

Yo Semite Valley

August 30th, 1886

(Letter for Mamie Kerrins-School teacher)

…They are working six or eight men at present on the Stoneman House, as the new hotel is named, but will put a force of, at least, twenty-five more on in a short time, and will drive the work along as fast as possible, so as to get under a roof before the storms set in…

June 14th 1887


Bids For Leasing the New Hotel and Estimates on Furnishing.

The Board of Commissioners

Elect Mark L. McCord Guardian

of the Valley, vice W. E.

Dennison -- B. F, Tuttle

Selected as an Agent

S. F. Alta

At a meeting of the Board of Commissioners to manage the Yosemite Valley, yesterday afternoon, Vice President Thomas P. Madded presided, and the other commissioners present were: W. H. Mills and J. H. O'Brien of Stockton, J. M. Griffith of Los Angles, Jonathan Mentzer of Coulterville, E. W. Chapman of Madera and G. G. Goucher of Mariposa. The special object of meeting was to arrange for the leasing of the Stoneman House, the hotel recently constructed in the Valley with a legislative appropriation of $40,000. It was the intention of the Commissioners to lease the property for ten years, the lessee to furnish the hotel in a satisfactory manner. The new hotel will be completed and turned over by the contractors in October.

The Executive Committee gave a detail of the business transacted. Accompanying the report was the financial statement of the Secretary and Commissioner Griffith. The statement showed that receipts since June 15th have been $4,729.34, of which a balance of $267.60 remains. The balance available to the credit of the Yosemite fund is $2,432.13.

W. E. Dennison, Guardian of the Valley, submitted his resignation. The names of two candidates to succeed him were submitted. They were Mark L. McCord and J. M. Hutchings. The balloting resulted in six vote cast for McCord and one for Hutchings, and the former was declared elected. The lucky candidate was then introduced by Mr. Goucher, who testified to Mr. McCord's integrity and value as estimated from an acquaintance since boyhood.

Mr. Dennison submitted an appeal to the board for aid in securing from the Controller and State authorities the payment of the demand for $950 salary for the months of March, April, May and June, 1885. The last Legislation approved the demand. The matter was referred to the Committee on Legislation, of which Senator Goucher is Chairman.

It was decided that the laborers in the valley who have worked since January 1st over the legal time of eight hours a day, be paid for such overtime at regular rates as soon as the Commissioners have the proper funds at their disposition.

In Reference to leasing and furnishing the hotel, B. F. Tuttle was called upon to give estimates regarding the furnishing of the house. Tuttle who was in the furniture business for many years stated that the hotel could be fitted up in first class style for about $11,000. After his explanation Tuttle was made agent of the Commission to superintend for them the furnishing of the hotel.

The first proposal opened was the bid of I. Choynski of the city, who offered to pay $1,200 for the first four years, $1,500 the next three years and $1,800 year for the last three. He would furnish the hotel in hard wood furniture, and estimated the cost at least $25,000. He agreed to spend that much in furnishing if his offer was accepted. The bid of J. J. Cook, who keeps a hotel in the Valley, offered to lease the hotel in from January, 1888 for ten years at the rate of $1,200 the first year and increasing $25 yearly to $1,425 the tenth year. He promised to furnish the hotel at a cost of about $15,000. He asked that no more than one other hotel be allowed in the Valley during the period of the lease. In answer to the questions he said about 3,000 persons visited the valley last year. The greater number of persons accommodated at hotels in the Valley at one time was 175.

James Grant, of Grant's Springs, Mariposa county, offered a bid which he asked would be considered after the Tyack bid. He would lease at the rate of $1,200 a year for the first five years, and $2,000 a year the last five years.

Henry Tyack and his wife submitted a bid offering to lease the hotel at the rate of $1,200 a year for the first two years, $1,800 the next six years, and $2,405 the last two years. Mr. Tyack thought $11,000 would furnish the hotel. He asked that all the stages be compelled to take all travelers to the hotel.

An executive session will be held this morning for the purpose of taking action on the bids.



An executive meeting of the Yosemite Valley Commissioners was held yesterday for the purpose of considering bids for the leasing of the new hotel, the Stoneman House, in the Valley. The highest bid was received from J. J. Cook, who offered to lease the hotel for ten years at $1,200 a year, and also to pay $350 a year for the privileges of the bar, selling merchandise, etc. The bid was accepted. The other bidders were I. N. Choynaki, who offered $1,200 a year and $100 for the privileges and H. Tyack and wife, who offered $1,200 and $300, respectively.

It was decided by the Commissioner to erect a studio near Barnard's Hotel at a cost of $300, and to rent the same to C. R. Robinson, the artist, for $25 a month.

In regard to the difficulty with the State Controller relative to the payment of a demand for $500 due W. E. Dennison, the late Guardian of the Valley. Commissioner Goucher was delegated to visit the Controller and assure him that the demand was legal and just one. A vote of thanks was also tendered Mr. Dennison for the faithful duty he had done as guardian.

The next annual meeting of the Commissioner will take place in the Valley next June.

October 15th, 1887

Vandalism in the Yosemite.

Governor Waterman had returned from the Yosemite. He did not accept the Stoneman House for the reason that the hotel is not yet completed, and will not be for fifteen days. The governor says that during the administration of Guardian Dennison 400 or 500 of the finest trees in the Valley were cut down and he states that the destruction is outrageous.