Transportation is essential to the Yosemite story. Native peoples traversed the central Sierra Nevada for thousands of years (and continue to do so), crossing to the East Side to trade with their Paiute relatives. Euroamericans followed these early trails, both on punitive expeditions and territorial, political, and scientific explorations. The routes into the region were toll roads, named for the mining communities where they originated. A railroad line, originating in Merced and terminating at the western boundary of the park was completed in 1907. From there visitors would spend the night at an elegant hotel before boarding horse drawn wagons (and later, motor vehicle carriages) for the last several miles into the park, entering Yosemite Valley in spectacular fashion. The California Division of Highways created an “All Year Highway” across the river from the Yosemite Valley Railroad, thirteen years after autos were officially permitted to enter Yosemite and ten years after the creation of the National Park Service in 1916. This panel discussion will explore the rich transportation history that surrounds Yosemite National Park.
Bob Pavlik is an environmental planner and historian with Caltrans. He is a graduate of the Public Historical studies program at UCSB. He worked as an environmental education instructor with the Yosemite Institute and as an historian with the National Park Service in Yosemite. Pavlik is the author of Norman Clyde: Legendary Mountaineer of California's Sierra Nevada.
Anthony Veerkamp is Field Director of the San Francisco Field Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, where he has worked to promote preservation throughout the West since 1993. He provides analysis, advocacy and leadership on legislative and public policy issues. His areas of specialization include sustainability and climate change policy and the protection of cultural heritage resources in parks and open space lands. Anthony is a graduate of Boston University's Masters Program of Preservation Studies, and holds a B.A. in Economics and Art History from McGill University.
Robert Vessely is a civil engineer licensed in California and Nevada who specializes in the structural aspects of the preservation, restoration and rehabilitation of historic structures. He has been responsible for the design and construction coordination for the treatment of various adobe buildings, stone structures, unreinforced brick masonry buildings, historic barns, lighthouse structures, a railroad water tower, a 1925 jail and numerous framed structures. He has a Bachelor of Architecture degree and a Master of Engineering degree both from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. Mr. Vessely has, through public engagement, vigorously encouraged and supported the preservation of historic resources including structures, sites and other cultural features.
When & Where
California Historical Society
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The California Historical Society holds one of the richest collections of primary and secondary materials in the state on the social, cultural, economic, and political development of California.
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