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Yosemite National Park Celebrates the 130th Anniversary of the Yosemite Chapel

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Date: June 3, 2009

The Yosemite Chapel, located in Yosemite Valley, will be celebrating its 130th anniversary this Sunday, June 7. This date is purportedly the actual date that services were first held in 1879. The Yosemite Chapel is the oldest structure in Yosemite Valley. It was originally constructed along the south side of the road near the base of the Four Mile Trail (trail leading from the Valley floor to Glacier Point). In 1901, the Yosemite Chapel was moved to its present location near Yosemite Village. In 1973, the chapel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, making it the first structure registered in Yosemite National Park.

A celebration will begin at 9:15 A. M. There will be an extended morning service featuring former pastors Don Baldwin (1965-1969), John C. Davis (1969-1988) and Kim Strutt (visiting youth director 1965-1988). Local musician Tom Bopp will perform music from the era. The music of Sir Arthur Sullivan (of Gilbert and Sullivan fame) will be performed on an authentic reed organ. In July of 1885, Sir Arthur Sullivan played at the memorial service held in the chapel following the death of President Ulysses S. Grant.

The service will conclude with a re-dedication of the chapel.

Following the morning service there will be a presentation by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster, granddaughter of Arthur C. Pillsbury, eminent Yosemite photographer. Pillsbury pioneered modern photographic techniques in the Yosemite Valley during the first decades of the last century. This presentation will be followed by a tour of the "Old Village" area conducted by Pillsbury-Foster. In the later afternoon, a barbeque will be held from 4:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M.

Did You Know?

Low intensity fire in Yosemite

Natural fires in Yosemite are often no more than a single burning snag (standing dead tree) or a slow moving, low intensity fire that cleans underbrush from the forest floor. These fires prevent unwanted fires by removing accumulating forest debris that can fuel a larger fire in hot, dry conditions.