John Muir


John Muir et al


Harold French


"To explore, enjoy, and render accessible the mountain regions of the Pacific Coast; to publish authentic information concerning them; to enlist the support and co-operation of the people and the Government in preserving the forests and other natural features of Sierra Nevada Mountains."SIERRA CLUB402 MILLS BUILDINGSan Francisco, Cal.Board of Directors-1911-1912Mr. John Muir, President MartinesProf. A. G. McAdie, Vice-President San Francisco.Prof. J. N. Le Conte, Treasurer BerkefeyMr. William E. Colby. Secretary San FranciscoProf. Wm. F. Badè BerkeleyProf. Vernon L. Kellogg Stanford UniversityVice Prof. E. C. Franklin, resignedProf. W. C. Morgan BerkeleyMr. E. T. Parsons San FranciscoMr. Willoughby Rodman Los AngelesOuting CommitteeProf. J. N. Le Conte Mr. E. T. ParsonsMr. Wm. E. Colby. Chairman and ManagerMr. Clair S. Tappaan, (Los Angeles) Assistant ManagerHonorary Vice-PresidentsMr. R. U. Johnson The Century, New YorkPres. David Starr Jordan Stanford UniversityMr. Gifford Pinchot Washington, D. C.Committee on PublicationsProf. Wm. F. Bade. Editor BerkeleyMrs. E. T. Parsons, Book Reviews BerkeleyProf. J. E. Church, Jr. Mr. Elliott McAllisterMr. Wm. E. Colby Mr. E. T. ParsonsMiss Anita Gomperts Prof. H. W. RolfeMr. J. S. Hutchinson, Jr.San Francisco, May 1, 1912.[Illegible]HAROLD FRENCH,1522 HENRY ST.,BERKELEY, CAL.The SIERRA CLUB has an opportunity to acquire the Soda Springs property in the Tuolumne Meadows within the Yosemite National park, and this opportunity will probably never again be presented. You are doubtless familiar with the holding, which was taken up and patented as a homestead and embraces 160 acres including the famous Soda Spring, a large portion of the finest part of the Meadows and probably the best hotel site to be found in the whole region. The owners are anxious to sell and they have already had several offers. If it is purchased it will probably be in the interest of some commercial proposition and the Club will never again be able to control it. The Club has for years been anxious to acquire this property, but has never seen its way clear to do so. Its main object in acquiring it would be to control it so that it would not be used to the detriment of the Park. The owners are asking $7000 cash and have given us until the 1st of July in which to decide whether we can buy it or not. We have talked with Lieutenant-Colonel, formerly Major, H. C. Benson, who for years was Superintendent of the Park, and he says that this is a very fair price. He knows personally that the father of the present owners, recently deceased, was offered $5000 cash for the property several years ago and refused it.For the present the only possible way in which we could raise the necessary money would be for members of the Club who are able to advance J100 each, to combine and buy it in the interests of the Club. We hope that you will feel that you can help the Club to this extent, in this important transaction. We, of course, are not in a position to make any guarantees, but we feel that your money would be safely invested. Our idea would be to have the property taken over in the name of the Club, and then have the Board of Directors authorize proper declarations of trust to be issued by the Club to each person putting up any of the purchase price, declaring him to be the owner of his proportionate interest of the legal title. Our idea would be to allow this loan to stand for say ten years in the expectation that the Club would by that time have grown large enough to be able to finance the proposition itself or arrange some means of taking it over and relieving those who have advanced the purchase price at this time.

There is the possibility that there would be some income from theproperty by leasing it as a public camp site. This could be arrangedif it seemed best to do so. The Club will pay taxes on the propertyand carry it without expense to the owners. If at the end of tenyears, it were deemed best not to continue controlling the ownershipof the property, it could be sold and the proceeds divided amongthose who have advanced the purchase price. If it were sold or if itwere taken over by the Club, our idea would be to reimburse those whohave advanced the money to the extent of the sums they have advancedand interest. If the Government saw fit to purchase it, as we hopethey may eventually, our idea would be to turn it ever to the Governmentfor the amount that we paid for it plus 6% interest per annum.The property is too important to be allowed to pass beyond ourcontrol and we hope that you will be able to assist us to the extentthat we have indicated, as this is the only means that we can now seeof retaining it. Perhaps it might be found advisable in time tobuild a Club lodge on the property, since this would be the mostfeasible place in the Sierra, if any one place were to be chosen.There is now a fine large cabin on the property which cost severalhundred dollars. Since we are given only until July 1st in which todefinitely determine and pay for the property, an early reply to thisletter will be greatly appreciated. In brief, the proposition thatwe ask is that you advance us $100 by June 1st to be used in purchasingthis property, and the property to be carried without furthercost to yourself for ten years, at the end of which time you would bereimbursed with interest or the property be sold and the proceedsdivided. With the rebuilding of the Tioga Road, which the Governmentis now contemplating, and the steadily increasing travel, this propertyshould become immensely valuable, being the only private holdingin the Eastern portion of the Park, and in time should be worthmany times the sum now asked, as a hotel site. We appeal to you knowingyour interest in the Club and your knowledge of the situation.We sincerely hope that those who have previously agreed to participatewill still be willing to do so now that we have secured an extensionof time.With kind regards, we remain,Very sincerely yours,.John Muir[illegible]


San Francisco

Date Original

1912 May 1


Original letter dimensions unknown.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 20, Image 0933

Collection Identifier

Online finding aid for the microform version of the John Muir Correspondence

Copyright Statement

The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust. To purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish or exhibit them, see

Owning Institution

The Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.

Copyright Holder

Muir-Hanna Trust

Copyright Date



2 pages


Environmentalist, naturalist, travel, conservation, national parks, John Muir, Yosemite, California, history, correspondence, letters



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