South Gate Entrance Station – Yosemite National Park CA


In 1934, the Public Works Administration (PWA) funded the creation of the South Gate Entrance Station to Yosemite National Park.  This followed enlargement of the park by the addition of the area from Wawona south and was done as part of the Wawona Road reconstruction.  The new entrance station included a parking area, entrance station, comfort station (restroom), residences for park rangers and a garage.

Of this work, the restroom and ranger residence are original New Deal structures.  

The Historic American Engineer Record (HAER) report on the Wawona Road provides these details:  “In 1934, roads around the South Entrance station were realigned and a parking area for thirty cars was constructed just inside the entrance. The parking spaces were originally set off by a redwood rail, since removed. The old checking station was removed at the same time. Public Works Administration funds were used for the project….The south entrance layout was revised again in 1939 or 1940 and a new checking kiosk was added. This was replaced in 1958 by a Mission 66 era structure which still stands.”

Further details can be found in A Sense of Place: Design Guidelines for Yosemite National Park (2012): “The South Entrance Station is about one mile north of the park boundary on the Wawona Road, at an elevation of 5,150 feet. In July 1934, federal relief funds became available to build the South Entrance Station, a comfort station, and nearby housing for the rangers employed year-round in the Wawona District. The buildings were all constructed using locally available materials and were designed to blend harmoniously with the setting. The buildings are set on a gentle southwest-facing slope in a dense, mature, lower montane coniferous forest. They consist of a restored entrance station building, a ranger residence, a comfort station, and two non-historic fee kiosks.”

Concerning the ranger residence, the document says that, [It] is a wood-frame structure, approximately 36 feet by 68 feet, with two separate living quarters. The exterior steps and the foundation of the structure are made of rubble masonry. Workers transported the stone and sand needed to build the steps and foundation some six miles from the Wawona Basin. Originally, the gable roof was covered with shingles that were hand-brushed with a green creosote shingle stain. Today it is a standard cedar shingle, weathered a dark grey. A porch is at each end of the structure. The asymmetrical gable on the south elevation is worth noting. A garage was also constructed at this time, sited uphill at the end of a narrow drive to the rear of the residence. The garage structure also has a stone foundation and a gable roof. The comfort station, measuring approximately 19 feet by 32 feet, is adjacent to the entrance kiosks on the east side. The wood-frame building has bevel redwood siding and a gable roof. The foundation consists of the same rubble masonry from the Wawona Basin—specifically from the bed of the South Fork of the Merced River.”




Source notes

Wawona Road, Historic American Engineering Record No. CA-148, National Park Service, U.S. Department Of The Interior (, accessed February 27, 2018.

National Park Servicer, A Sense of Place: Design Guidelines for Yosemite National Park, 2012., accessed March 3, 2018.

Linda Wedel Greene, Yosemite: The Park and Its Resources; A History of the Discovery, Management, and Physical Development of Yosemite National Park, California, vol. 2, Historical Narrative (1987; repr., Delhi, India: Facsimile Publisher, [2021]), p. 838.

Project originally submitted by Andrew Laverdiere on February 11, 2022.
Additional contributions by John Broesamle.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

Wawona Road
Yosemite National Park, CA 94389

Coordinates: 37.38984, -119.6349

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