Plenty of historical fun this weekend

– Press release:

Explore the History of The Tioga Road: Gateway to Yosemite

The 10th Annual Ghosts of the Sagebrush Tour, sponsored by the Mono Basin Historical Society, is on Saturday, August 24, exploring the history of the Tioga Road between the eastern gate into Yosemite National Park and Lee Vining, in the Mono Lake Basin.

fish fry

A catered dinner will be the night before, on Friday August 23 at the Lee Vining Community Center, with speakers and a re-enactment of the annual community fish fry celebrations that marked the opening of Tioga Pass in the late 1920s. Separate tickets are available for the dinner ($25) and for the Tour (also $25, which includes a boxed lunch).

The Ghosts of the Sagebrush Tour begins at 10 AM, Saturday, the 24th, at the Old Schoolhouse Museum on Mattly Drive in Lee Vining. Gene Rose, author of Yosemite’s Tioga Country will present the keynote speech. Other stops on the auto tour will include Burger’s Retreat, a short distance off the highway, which is marking the 100th anniversary of the Brand-Morlan Lodge.

tioga pass road

After a slide talk and lunch, the group will continue the auto tour up the highway to presentations at the Tioga Pass Resort and Bennetville trailhead. Historians, old-timers, and an interpretive ranger from Yosemite will present the history of the highway, including its creation as a mining road, its importance to the electrical power generation facilities in Tioga Canyon, and the challenges road crews face to clear winter snow and open the road each spring.

At 5 PM, a film concludes the day in the theater of the National Forest Scenic Area Visitor Center in Lee Vining, with historic footage of the auto “stage” that crossed the pass, each day in the late 1920s, between Yosemite and Lake Tahoe and dramatic scenes of snow plows at work following a big winter in the 1990s.

The Friday night meal will be catered by Linda Dore, and include grilled salmon and chicken, vegetarian options and side dishes inspired by the food served at annual fish fry events in Lee Vining which celebrated each year’s opening of Tioga Pass in the 1920s and ’30s. Elder Augie Hess, one of the first residents of Lee Vining, will speak that evening about “Travel Routes to Yosemite for Mono Basin Native Americans.” Raffle prizes at the dinner include 3 framed Bodie prints by Kathy Farmer and a Mono Lake print of a Vineca Hess painting.

Tickets for the Tour and the dinner, each only $25, are available at the Historical Society’s Old Schoolhouse Museum or by emailing or calling 760 647-6461. Make your dinner purchase before August 18 and receive a $10 discount on annual Society membership dues. The Mono Basin Historical Society is a non-profit organization that operates the Old Schoolhouse Museum and world-famous Upside-down House in Lee Vining.


The Southern Mono Historical SocietyInvites you to their annual OLD TIMERS’ DAY & BBQat the Hayden Cabin/Mammoth Museum Saturday, August 24, 2013, 5:00 p.m.

Program: Emmet Hayden, The Man Who Put Mammoth on the Map! Tri Tip and/or chicken & all the fixin’s$20.00 adults, $6.00 school age children (under 5 free).

Please come and bring your tall tales and learn about Mammoth Lakes’ history from some of our old timers! Questions: Call Hayden Cabin/Mammoth Museum (760) 934-6918.



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One Response to Plenty of historical fun this weekend

  1. Tourbillon August 20, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

    The Tioga Pass road for us is so familiar we sometimes forget what a remarkable and difficult thing it was, and is. It was a miracle of ambition and perseverance when it opened a century ago. This is really cool and one of wonders of the place we live, and we should not take it, or the people that once built it and now maintain it, for granted.


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