Wawona Ranger Station Residences – Yosemite National Park CA


The New Deal made possible the construction of a ranger station in the Wawona area, which was added to Yosemite National Park in 1932.  The ranger station complex includes two ranger residences and accompanying garages.  These buildings still exist, but are now used for different purposes.

According to the Superintendent’s Monthly Report of December 1934, the Public Works Administration (PWA) provided the funding to the National Park Service (NPS) for the ranger station complex (Broesamle 2022). This contradicts the 2012 NPS report on design in the park, which attributes the buildings to the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) (see quote below).  The latter seems unlikely because the CCC always built in the “rustic” style, while these ranger residences are done in white clapboard to match the style of the Wawona Hotel (which was built by private interests before the area became part of the park).

The NPS design report says, “The rangers’ residences consist of four historic white buildings (originally two garages and two residences), set well back along the north edge of the alluvial plain on the slightly sloping ground parallel to Chilnualna Falls Road. Visible from the Wawona Road, they are excellent examples of buildings designed by the National Park Service to be compatible with the Wawona Hotel complex and the nearby Chinquapin ranger station. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps between 1934 and 1939, they contain elements of early Californian and Colonial Revival styles. Painted white, they identify strongly with the Wawona Hotel community.” (NPS 2012, p. 169)

The larger residence is presently used as a field station by the University of California, Merced: “UC Merced operates two field stations in Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks in partnership with Yosemite National Park, Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks, and the U.S. Geological Survey. The stations offer unparalleled access and support for research and teaching in the parks and surrounding areas.” (UC Merced)

Source notes

National Park Service, A Sense Of Place: Design Guidelines For Yosemite National Park, 2012. https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=347&projectID=70781&documentID=77924, accessed November 8, 2017.

UC Merced (https://snrs.ucmerced.edu), accessed November 8, 2017.

John Broesamle, book manuscript on the New Deal in Yosemite National Park, 2022.

Project originally submitted by Andrew Laverdiere on November 8, 2017.
Additional contributions by Richard Walker.

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


Location Info

7799 Chilnualna Falls Road
Yosemite National Park, CA 94389

Coordinates: 37.541689, -119.65342

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