Living

Cedarbrook Inn lecture was so popular, it returns to kick off Fresno Flats’ 2019 series

The Cedarbrook Inn as it appears in its current state.
The Cedarbrook Inn as it appears in its current state. Special to the Sierra Star

Due to the standing-room-only crowd at last July’s presentation, a repeat program on the historic Cedarbrook Inn on the Original Stage Road to Yosemite is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, at Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park.

This lecture and slideshow presentation by local author and historian Brenda Negley is based on Zelda Garey Dubel’s book, “To Yosemite by Stage: Raymond to Wawona and Remembering Cedarbrook Inn.” The program features 200 historical images, many from Dubel’s own collection, and the stories behind them.

“We are doing a repeat presentation because of the overwhelming crowd that filled the building to capacity, leaving some willing to stand outside and listen to a speaker system without viewing the PowerPoint and with others who left because we ran out of room,” Negley said. “It made our board members believe that we should bring the lecture back.”

This program will be the first of the 2019 series of lectures offered at Fresno Flats. Doors open at 6 pm. and the event is free, however, donations are accepted.

“The ‘To Yosemite by Stage’ presentation, based on Dubel’s book of the same name, includes historical photos of individuals, a stage hold-up, mines, historic towns (Raymond, Grub Gulch, Ahwahnee, Nipinnawasee, Fish Camp) and other surprises along the route,” Negley said.

The presentation describes “the horse-drawn stage route for tourists between Raymond and Wawona from 1886 to about 1913,” Negley said. “This trip was 42 miles and took 12 hours. The dirt road was all uphill, requiring changes of horses about every eight miles.”

cedarbrook inn
“To Yosemite by Stage: Raymond to Wawona and Remembering Cedarbrook Inn” author Zelda Garey Dubel, left, with local author and historian Brenda Negley at the Raymond parade. Special to the Sierra Star

The description is based on Dubel’s book, published in 2011, which chronicles the early travel challenges faced by those going to Yosemite National Park and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias from the late 1800s into the 1900s.

“My former husband, Wilson Garey, and I bought Cedarbrook directly from (the original owners) and we owned it from 1956 to 1964,” Dubel said. “We called it a guest ranch and we preserved all the old things like iron beds. We rented rooms, apartments and cabins, mostly to tourists visiting Yosemite in summer and fall. In those days there were not many motels (and) no hotels and Oakhurst was a very small community. We served three meals a day because Cedarbrook was so remote there were not many restaurants available.”

Cedarbrook Inn today

Cedarbrook Inn still stands today on the dirt road between Nipinnawasee and Highway 41.

The road comes out near the Westfall picnic area, just south of Fish Camp. Cedarbrook Inn is privately owned and not open to the public. It is on 160 acres of private land surrounded by forest service land.

The property is currently listed for sale online for $2.4 million. The real estate listing notes that the lodge (known as the inn by previous owners) features some 3,300 square feet of space with knotty pine-paneled walls and ceilings, hardwood floors, a stone fireplace and a wood-burning stove.

In 1982, Cedarbrook Inn was given historic status by Mariposa County.

Friday Lecture Series

Lectures are scheduled from January through August.

In January and July presentations will be on the second Friday. For the remaining months they will be on the first Friday of the month.

The program will be held in the Cunningham School in the Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park at 49777 School Road in Oakhurst.

“To Yosemite by Stage: Raymond to Wawona and Remembering Cedarbrook Inn” may be purchased at www.lulu.com.

February lecture on Teddy Roosevelt

The Feb. 1 lecturer is Debby Carter, who compiles the monthly “Remember When” column for the Sierra Star. Carter, a Fresno Flats researcher and librarian, will present “Did Teddy Roosevelt Sleep Here.” It is based on his trip to the area that led him to Yosemite where he met John Muir and Galen Clark.

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