John Muir National Historic Site

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John Muir National Historic Site
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Location4202 Alhambra Avenue, Martinez, California
Coordinates 37°59′29″N122°08′00″W / 37.991311°N 122.133298°W / 37.991311; -122.133298 Coordinates: 37°59′29″N122°08′00″W / 37.991311°N 122.133298°W / 37.991311; -122.133298
Area345 acres (140 ha)
ArchitectWolfe & Son; Martinez, Vicente
Architectural style Italianate-Victorian [2]
Visitation49,376 (2016) [3]
Website John Muir National Historic Site
NRHP reference No. 66000083 [4]
CHISL No.312 [5]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1966
Designated NHLDecember 29, 1962 [6]
Designated NHSAugust 31, 1964 [2]

The John Muir National Historic Site is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, in Martinez, Contra Costa County, California. It preserves the 14-room Italianate Victorian mansion where the naturalist and writer John Muir lived, as well as a nearby 325-acre (132 ha) tract of native oak woodlands and grasslands historically owned by the Muir family. The main site is on the edge of town, in the shadow of State Route 4, also known as the "John Muir Parkway." [7]




The mansion was built in 1883 by Dr. John Strentzel, Muir's father-in-law, with whom Muir went into partnership, managing his 2,600-acre (1,100 ha) fruit ranch. Muir and his wife, Louisa, moved into the house in 1890, and he lived there until his death in 1914.

View from south over the house to the orchards in 1900 Jomu Martinez, Ca 020419pu.jpg
View from south over the house to the orchards in 1900

Alhambra Trestle

In 1897, for the sum of $10, Muir and Louisa ceded a right of way to the San Francisco and San Joaquin Valley Railroad. [8] The document describes the land upon which the Alhambra Trestle is located. [8] The railway was completed in 1900 and used by the Muirs to ship their fruit. [8]


While living here, Muir realized many of his greatest accomplishments, co-founding and serving as the first president of the Sierra Club, [9] in the wake of his battle to prevent Yosemite National Park's Hetch Hetchy Valley from being dammed, playing a prominent role in the creation of several national parks, writing hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles and several books expounding on the virtues of conservation and the natural world, and laying the foundations for the creation of the National Park Service in 1916.

The home contains Muir's "scribble den," as he called his study, and his original desk, where he wrote about many of the ideas that are the bedrock of the modern conservation movement. [10]

Archive and Landmark

The Muir house was documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey in 1960. [11]

It became a National Historic Site in 1964, is California Historical Landmark #312 and a National Historic Landmark, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1988 nearby Mount Wanda Nature Preserve (named for one of John Muir's two daughters) was added to the Historic Site. [12]

John Muir National Historic Site

The John Muir National Historic Site offers a biographical film, tours of the house and nature walks on Mount Wanda. [13]

See also

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  1. "John Muir Home". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
  2. 1 2 "National Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings". National Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  3. "NPS Annual Recreation Visits Report". National Park Service. Retrieved 2017-05-10.
  4. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. April 15, 2008.
  5. "John Muir Home". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
  6. "John Muir House". National Historic Landmark Program. Archived from the original on 8 October 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  7. "Directions". John Muir National Historic Site, National Park Service . Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  8. 1 2 3 National Park Service. "John Muir and the Alhambra Trestle" (PDF). Sierra Club . Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  9. "The John Muir Exhibit". Sierra Club . Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  10. "Museum Collections at the John Muir National Historic Site". National Park Service Museum Management Program. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  11. "John Muir House". Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress. Retrieved 13 April 2012.[ permanent dead link ]
  12. "Testimony before the Subcommittee on National Parks" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  13. "Things To Do". John Muir National Historic Site, National Park Service. Retrieved 13 April 2012.