One of the Rooms in the Oldest Hotel in Yosemite Once Housed a Huge Relic Tree: the Hotel is Gone, but the Tree is Still Standing – Design You Trust — Design Daily Since 2007

One of the Rooms in the Oldest Hotel in Yosemite Once Housed a Huge Relic Tree: the Hotel is Gone, but the Tree is Still Standing

Big Tree Room 1

James Mason Hutchings, 28, moved to America from England in 1848. He came to California in the early gold rush, young and ambitious.

He was one of the few who got rich and became a publisher. Hutchings was not a desk-bound person. He was driven to find the grassy valley with “thousand foot cliffs and waterfalls” after hearing about it. He brought the first tourists to Yosemite in 1855 by combining his business skills with his love of nature and adventure. As a guide and publisher, he popularized this site.


Big Tree Room 2

His enthusiasm for Yosemite grew so strong that he bought the Upper Hotel, a hastily built hotel beside the towering cedar, in 1864. Hutchings knew he had to modernize and expand to make his guests more comfortable, but he couldn’t bear to tear down the fully grown tree. Hutchings subsequently built the new and improved Hutchings House to “around” it.

Big Tree Room 3

Hutchings built the Big Tree Room a few years after buying the hotel. He wrote, “This 175-foot cedar was there when the room was planned. Not wanting to tear down the tree, I built around it. The eight-foot diameter tree base is a constant presence in the sitting area.

Big Tree Room 4

Pioneers in Yosemite Valley included James Mason Hutchings. Hutchings printed the first Yosemite Valley pictures, and his daughter was the first non-native born there.

Big Tree Room 5

The enormous Tree Room is gone, but the building and enormous tree remain. Most visitors to eastern Yosemite Valley drive past this tree without knowing its history.

Big Tree Room 6
Big Tree Room 7

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