Arthur C. Pillsbury Foundation

Protecting and Preserving All Life -- By Extending Human Vision

Hetch Hetchy Timeline

            San Francisco's water board and politicians are discussing the possibility of constructing a dam at the narrow end of Hetch Hetchy Valley to be used as a reservoir.
              October 1, 1890 area outside the valley and sequoia grove became a national park under the unopposed Yosemite Act.
The State of California retained control of Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Big Trees. Muir and 181 others founded the Sierra Club in 1892, in part to lobbying for the transfer of the valley and the grove into the National Park.[48]
            Saturday, May 28 - The Sierra Club is founded at a meeting in the law offices of Warren Olney.   First National Bank Building at 101 Sansome Street. Among those attending were Joseph LeConte, J. h. Senger, William Dallam Armes, Cornelius Beach Bradley, and John C. Branner, all faculty members at Stanford or Berkeley.
On Saturday, May 28, 1892, a formal meeting was held in Olney's office to organize a "Sierra Club." A week later there was another meeting at the same site. Twenty-seven charter members signed the articles of incorporation that Olney had drawn up. Muir was elected president, Olney vice-president.
1896 - Galen Clark retired as the state grant's guardian in 1896, leaving Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Big Trees under ineffective stewardship
Sierra Club established an information center for visitors to Yosemite Valley in 1898. The center included a library and a young man named William Colby was hired as its attendant.
Sierra Club membership is 384.
Muir's flawed thinking - Muir became a booster of tourism. He reasoned that "if people, in general, could be got into the woods, even for once, to hear the trees speak for themselves, all difficulties in the way of forest preservation would vanish." The more who would kick Emerson's "house habit," the better for the cause of conservation.
Colby became Secretary of the Sierra Club in 1900, retaining that position for 46 years, with the exception of the two years he served as President.
Sierra Club's Board of Directors had determined that an annual summer outing would be a valuable addition to Club activities.
      High Trip - 96 people went to Tuolumne Meadows in 1901
                           49 Club members hiked 20 miles and ascended 4,000 feet to the summit of Mt. Dana in one day
                           Twenty climbed Mt. Lyell, the highest peak in Yosemite National Park.
Sierra Club Bulletin carried two reports of the summer outing, one by Ella Sexton, subtitled "a woman's view of the outing," and the other the "man's view" -- written by Edward Parsons. Parsons noted of the women who ascended Mt. Dana, most of them "Berkeley or Stanford girls," that "their vigor and endurance were a revelation to all of us."
Sierra Club completed the LeConte Memorial Lodge in Yosemite to serve as the organization's summer headquarters.
Marion Randall. A close friend of Muir's daughter Wanda, Randall joined the 1904 outing as her first venture into the wilderness.
 56 members of the annual outing, including 15 women, made the ascent of Mt. Rainier, on the first High Trip outside California. Stephen Mather was among the party
1908 – John Muir begins Battle to save the Hetch Hetchy
              Sierra Club membership reaches 1,ooo individuals.
1909 – Pillsbury – First Nature Movies, shown in Yosemite
             William Howard Taft, President of the United States, visits Yosemite.  Taft, a Conservative or Classical Liberal, opposes the right of way for the Hetch Hetchy. 
1911 – June 27 - John Muir chooses Pillsbury's photos for his last book, The Yosemite.
            John Muir writes his last book. The Yosemite
1912 – Pillsbury – Builds the first lapse-time camera for plants.
             October 14, 15, 16  - Pillsbury – Shows the first lapse-time movie to the National Park  Superintendents at a conference in Yosemite.  Individuals attending the conference.
1913 – John Muir loses his battle for the Hetch Hetchy
            Woodrow Wilson, a Progressive, supports the damming of Hetch Hetchy. 
1914 – December 24 – John Muir dies in Los Angeles, broken-hearted over the loss of the Hetch Hetchy. 
             Cars enter Yosemite Valley
1908 – 1913
Bancroft Library Archives


Sierra Club
The Yosemite – Text only



Sierra Club Instituting Meeting
May 28, 1892, at
W. H. Beatty
Ralph C. Harrison
George C. Perkins
G. B. Bayley
John C. Banner
James O. Griffin
Willard D. Johnson
Josiah Keep
Hermann Kower
Hubert P. Dyer
W. H. Henry
L. de F. Bartlett
W. L. Jepson, Jr.
Warren Olney
John Muir
J. H. Senger
William D. Armes
Mark Brickell Kerr
Dorville Libby
Charles A. Bailey
C. D. Robinson
C. B. Bradley
Fred S. Pheby
Charles G. Harker
R. M. Price
Will Denman
Warren Gregory