Wawona Covered Bridge

Last updated
Wawona Covered Bridge
Wawona Covered Bridge.jpg
USA California location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Usa edcp location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location Pioneer Yosemite History Center, Wawona, California
Coordinates 37°32′19″N119°39′17″W / 37.53861°N 119.65472°W / 37.53861; -119.65472 Coordinates: 37°32′19″N119°39′17″W / 37.53861°N 119.65472°W / 37.53861; -119.65472
Area 1 acre (0.40 ha)
Built 1868
Architectural style Modified Queen-post through
NRHP reference #


Added to NRHP January 11, 2007

The Wawona Covered Bridge is a covered bridge spanning the South Fork of the Merced River near Wawona, California in Yosemite National Park. The bridge was built by Galen Clark, the steward of what was then called the Yosemite Grant, in 1868, without its cladding. The bridge was a major component of Clark's proposed new road from Wawona to the Yosemite Valley. Clark was unable to complete the road, which he sold to the Washburn Group of investors along with the Wawona Hotel. The Washburn Group completed the road to the Yosemite Valley in 1879. It is one of twelve remaining covered bridges in California. [2]

Covered bridge wooden bridge with protective cover

A covered bridge is a timber-truss bridge with a roof, decking, and siding, which in most covered bridges, create an almost complete enclosure. The purpose of the covering is to protect the wooden structural members from the weather. Uncovered wooden bridges typically have a lifespan of only 20 years because of the effects of rain and sun, but a covered bridge could last 100 years.

Merced River body of water in California

The Merced River, in the central part of the U.S. state of California, is a 145-mile (233 km)-long tributary of the San Joaquin River flowing from the Sierra Nevada into the San Joaquin Valley. It is most well known for its swift and steep course through the southern part of Yosemite National Park, where it is the primary watercourse flowing through Yosemite Valley. The river's character changes dramatically once it reaches the plains of the agricultural San Joaquin Valley, where it becomes a slow-moving meandering stream.

Wawona, California Census-designated place in California, United States

Wawona is a census-designated place in Mariposa County, California. It is located 18 miles (29 km) east of Mariposa, at an elevation of 3999 feet. The population was 169 at the 2010 census.


Covered bridge

The modified queen post truss was covered with Douglas fir cladding in 1878, enclosing the Ponderosa pine structure and its iron tie rods. The bridge served automobile traffic until 1937, when a new bridge was built about 200 metres (660 ft) to the southwest. The bridge was repaired by Civilian Conservation Corps labor the same year. In 1955 the bridge was damaged by flooding. Marked for replacement on account of the damage and its poor general condition, the bridge was instead reconstructed after National Park Service landscape architect Thomas Chalmers Vint intervened in its favor. Work was funded as part of the Park Service's Mission 66 program, using the bridge as the centerpiece of an interpretive exhibit on the history of the Wawona area. The Pioneer Yosemite History Center was established nearby. The bridge was repaired, with damaged elements replaced in kind. Since 1957 the bridge has had a number of repairs and replacements as materials have deteriorated. [2] [3]

Douglas fir species of tree

Pseudotsuga menziesii is an evergreen conifer species in the pine family, Pinaceae. It is native to western North America and is known as Douglas fir, Douglas-fir, Oregon pine, and Columbian pine. There are two varieties: coast Douglas-fir, and Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir.

Civilian Conservation Corps public work relief program

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men. Originally for young men ages 18–25, it was eventually expanded to ages 17–28. Robert Fechner was the first director of the agency, succeeded by James McEntee following Fechner's death. The CCC was a major part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal that provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state, and local governments. The CCC was designed to provide jobs for young men and to relieve families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression in the United States. Maximum enrollment at any one time was 300,000. Through the course of its nine years in operation, 3 million young men participated in the CCC, which provided them with shelter, clothing, and food, together with a wage of $30 per month.

National Park Service United States federal agency

The National Park Service (NPS) is an agency of the United States federal government that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. It was created on August 25, 1916, by Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act and is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior. The NPS is charged with a dual role of preserving the ecological and historical integrity of the places entrusted to its management, while also making them available and accessible for public use and enjoyment.

See also

Other structures at the Pioneer Yosemite History Center include:

Acting Superintendents Headquarters

The Acting Superintendent's Headquarters in Yosemite National Park was built by the U.S. Army at Camp A.E. Wood in the Wawona district of the park in 1904 to house the commander of the military administration that operated the park in the years prior to the establishment of the National Park Service. It was moved to the Yosemite Valley in 1906. The Acting Superintendent's Headquarters is the last remaining structure at Wawona associated with the park's military administration. The cabin followed the military to the Yosemite Valley, remaining there until 1958, when it was moved back to Wawona. It is part of the Pioneer Yosemite History Center.

Hodgdon Homestead Cabin

The Hodgdon Homestead Cabin was built by Jeremiah Hodgdon in 1879 in the Aspen Valley area of what became Yosemite National Park. The two-story log cabin, measuring 22 feet (6.7 m) by 30 feet (9.1 m), was located in an inholding in the park, owned by Hodgdon's descendants. In the 1950s the family proposed to demolish the structure. The National Park Service acquired it and moved it to its Pioneer Yosemite History Center at Wawona, where the restored cabin is part of an exhibit on early settlement and development of the Yosemite area. In addition to housing Hogdon, the cabin housed workers on the Great Sierra Wagon Road in the 1880s, as a patrol cabin for U.S. Army troops who managed the new national park in the 1890s, and as a historic landmark at the old Aspen Valley Resort.

Related Research Articles

Yosemite National Park National park in California, United States

Yosemite National Park is an American national park located in the western Sierra Nevada of Central California, bounded on the southeast by Sierra National Forest and on the northwest by Stanislaus National Forest. The park is managed by the National Park Service and covers an area of 747,956 acres and sits in four counties: centered in Tuolumne and Mariposa, extending north and east to Mono and south to Madera County. Designated a World Heritage site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, meadows, glaciers, and biological diversity. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness.

History of the Yosemite area

Human habitation in the Sierra Nevada region of California reaches back 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. Historically attested Native American populations, such as the Sierra Miwok, Mono and Paiute, belong to the Uto-Aztecan and Utian phyla.

Wawona Hotel

The Wawona Hotel is a historic hotel located within southern Yosemite National Park, in California. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. On March 1, 2016, the Wawona Hotel was renamed Big Trees Lodge due to a legal dispute between the US Government, which owns the property, and the outgoing concessionaire, Delaware North, which claims rights to the trademarked name.

Tunnel View scenic overlook on State Route 41 in Yosemite National Park

Tunnel View is a scenic viewpoint on State Route 41 in Yosemite National Park. Visitors have seen and documented the iconic and expansive views of Yosemite Valley from the overlook since its opening in 1933. Internationally renowned artists to casual tourists have painted, drawn, and photographed the dramatic scenery from here and nearby vantage points since the 19th century.

Yosemite West, California Unincorporated community in California, United States

Yosemite West is an unincorporated community of resort homes located just outside the southern area of Yosemite National Park, just off Wawona Road, a continuation of State Route 41 from Fresno. It is situated one mile (1.6 km) south of the Chinquapin intersection of Wawona Road with Glacier Point Road at an altitude of 5,100–6,300 ft (1,600–1,900 m). The elevation reported by the USGS is 5,866 feet (1,788 m). The community is part of Henness Ridge, nearly 3,000 feet (910 m) above the southern banks of the Merced River and State Route 140 from Mariposa.

Honey Run Covered Bridge

Honey Run Covered Bridge was a wooden covered bridge crossing Butte Creek, in Butte County, northern California. It was located on Honey Run Road at Centerville Road, about halfway in between Chico and Paradise, until it was destroyed in the Camp Fire on November 8, 2018.

Mansfield Covered Bridge place in Indiana listed on National Register of Historic Places

The Mansfield Covered Bridge is a Double Burr Arch double span truss bridge located on Mansfield Road (historic) and Big Raccoon Creek in Mansfield southeast of Rockville in Parke County, Indiana. Built by Joseph J. Daniels in 1867 at a cost of $12,200. At 279 ft (85 m) it is the second longest covered bridge left in Parke County. This Historic Site rest on land provided by Luke J. Moody and is open to the public.

Old Blenheim Bridge Wooden covered bridge that spanned Schoharie Creek in North Blenheim, New York, United States

Old Blenheim Bridge was a wooden covered bridge that spanned Schoharie Creek in North Blenheim, New York, United States. With an open span of 210 feet (64 m), it had the longest span of any surviving single-span covered bridge in the world. The Bridgeport Covered Bridge in Nevada County, California, is longer overall at 233 feet (71 m) but is argued to have a 208 feet (63 m) clear span. The bridge, opened in 1855, was also one of the oldest of its type in the United States. It was destroyed by flooding resulting from Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. Rebuilding of the bridge commenced in 2017 and was completed in 2018.

Wawona Tunnel

The Wawona Tunnel is a highway tunnel in Yosemite National Park. It, and Tunnel View just beyond its east portal, were completed in 1933.

South Fork Merced River river in the United States of America

The South Fork Merced River is the largest tributary of the Merced River. Most of the river flows within Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada of California. The river is 43 miles (69 km) long, and its drainage basin covers about 240 square miles (620 km2), of which 109 square miles (280 km2) are in the national park. The average flow at the mouth is 356 cubic feet per second (10.1 m3/s).

1997 Merced River flood

The January 1997 flood of the Merced River occurred from December 31, 1996, to January 5, 1997, throughout the Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, Mariposa County, California, US. The flood stands as arguably the park's worst natural disaster to date, and inarguably the worst flood in park history. The Merced River at Happy Isles peaked at 10,100 cubic feet per second during the flood. A book was written on the flood later in 1997 by Mark Goodin titled Yosemite: The 100-Year Flood.

Yosemite Valley Chapel

The Yosemite Valley Chapel was built in the Yosemite Valley of California in 1879.

Yosemite Valley Bridges

The Yosemite Valley Bridges are eight bridges in the Yosemite Valley of Yosemite National Park, most of them spanning the Merced River. Five of them were built in 1928, with the remainder built between 1921 and 1933. The bridges feature a concrete structure faced with local stone, in an elliptical or three-centered arch configuration. They are notable for their uniform character and for their conformance to tenets of the National Park Service rustic style. Design work for the seven newer bridges was by George D. Whittle of the San Francisco District Office of the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads for the National Park Service. Concrete bridges were chosen at the urging of Thomas Chalmers Vint of the Park Service, in lieu of alternative designs for steel truss bridges, or suspension bridges suggested by the park superintendent.

Chris Jorgensen Studio building in Wawona, California, United States

The Chris Jorgensen Studio is a one-room log building, built in 1904 as an artist's studio for Chris Jorgensen in the Yosemite Valley. Jorgensen, an instructor and assistant director of the California School of Fine Arts, arrived in Yosemite in the 1890s. Jorgensen studied and depicted local Native Americans from 1899, collecting native basketwork. The National Park Service acquired the Jorgensen Studio in 1919, calling it the Yosemite Museum. Jorgensen donated his basket collection to the museum in 1923. Jorgensen's widow, Angela Ghiardelli, donated many of Jorgensen's works to the museum following his death in 1935.

Yosemite Transportation Company Office building in Wawona, California, United States

The Yosemite Transportation Company Office, also known as the Wells Fargo Office, was built in the Yosemite Valley in 1910 to house facilities of motor stage and horse stage services between the nearest rail terminal at El Portal and Yosemite National Park. The rustic log structure also provided telegraph and express services.

California Powder Works Bridge

The California Powder Works Bridge is a historic covered bridge in Santa Cruz, California. It is a Smith truss bridge, built across the San Lorenzo River in 1872 by the California Powder Works, an explosives manufacturer whose factory complex stood on the river banks. The bridge was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2015 as one of the best-preserved national examples of the Smith truss. It is owned and maintained by the Paradise Park Masonic Club, and is open to pedestrian and vehicular traffic, with a posted weight limit of 5 tons.


  1. National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service.
  2. 1 2 Bergstein, Seth (October 2002). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Wawona Covered Bridge" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  3. Quin, Richard H. (1991). "Wawona Covered Bridge" (PDF). Historic American Engineering Record . Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. Retrieved March 23, 2018.