The day Roosevelt visited Ahwahnee

Nuggets from the Past

February 11, 2010 

Road 600 in Ahwahnee is famous as part of the stage route from Raymond to Yosemite. It was in 1902 that President Teddy Roosevelt rode this stage.

In "As We Were Told, Vol. II," is the short story by John Shay published in 1923: "Twenty Years in the Backwoods of California -- Chapter IX: 'Theodore Roosevelt.'"

The following is an excerpt of the book as written by Shay:

"It was during the summer of the last year of his first term as President of the United States that I had the extreme pleasure of seeing this grand old warrior pass by my door en route to and from Yosemite Valley. It was in the old horse-drawn stage days, and Teddy was seated on the high, outside top seat beside the driver.

"When I learned the date of his coming, I decorated my home for the occasion. A 12-foot flag was hung on the north side of the porch facing the road.

"Teddy's life-size picture, draped with bunting, was placed over the front entrance to the house. A large number of small flags completed the decorating.

"The winding up-grade to the old mining town of Grub Gulch from the direction that the stages came from Raymond, could be plainly seen for a distance of a mile. The stage at last appeared in the distance and on scheduled time.

"A large crowd of neighbors had gathered.... It was certainly an impressive sight to us all as the big coach came rumbling down the grade. Six beautiful white horses were drawing the coach. A troop of colored soldiers, riding white horses, followed in line.

"I had placed my loaded Winchester rifle and six-shooter on the porch at the head of the flag, and just as the coach came in front of the house, I began firing the guns.

"At the firing of the first shot, the President stood straight up on the side board of the coach, and with his hat in his hand, waved it over his head every time my guns barked. He seemed to take as much enjoyment out of it as I did.

"After arriving at the Ahwahnee Tavern dinner station the party stopped for lunch. Later when Miami Mill was reached, a group of forest rangers met the coach. Teddy alighted from the stage, mounted a saddle horse and rode away with the forest rangers.

"Up at the rangers' camp that night, under the silver firs, our President ate venison broiled on the campfire, camp-made biscuits with black coffee. He declared to his party the next day that he enjoyed the evening, one of the happiest nights of his life."

"As We Were Told," volumes I and II, are available at the Coarsegold Historic Museum on Highway 41, Fresno Flats Park, Dorsey's Hallmark in Oakhurst and Busse's Ace Hardware in Coarsegold.

The Sierra Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service