Little Known Facts About the History of Curry Village in Yosemite

Curry Village after a spring snowstorm 2015

Curry Village after a spring snowstorm 2015. Photo by Marta Czajkowska.

Did you know that Curry Village in Yosemite National Park is a National Historic District? Designated on the National Historic Landmark register as Camp Curry Historic District, Curry Village was originally established as Camp Curry by the Curry family in 1899. Over one hundred years later, this rustic resort in Yosemite Valley is still serving thousands of park visitors each year with a mix of lodging consisting of hotel rooms, cabins and tent cabins set at the east end of the valley just under Glacier Point with a commanding view of Half Dome. Curry Village is by far the largest lodging property in the park with 503 accommodations. With restaurants, stores, a swimming pool and a guest lounge, Curry Village maintains the legacy of Camp Curry with comforts established by the Curry family and their passion for Yosemite.

1.  The original rate was $1.50 per day. This rate included lodging and meals.

2. The camp once housed a bowling alley and dance hall.

3. Early refrigeration consisted of carving blocks of ice from Mirror Lake in winter and storing them in sawdust for summer.

4. There was one heck of a toboggan run at Curry Village from 1927 to 1952.

5. After Camp Curry, the Curry family built The Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley and became the Yosemite Park & Curry Company.

6. A children’s park at Camp Curry was known as Kiddie Kamp, and housed a petting zoo.  It also included a mini train ride.

7. At Camp Curry, the song “Indian Love Call” was sung during the Firefall, which took place every summer night at 9:00 pm.

8. The Curry Village Ice Rink once hosted a Winter Carnival where a King and Queen were crowned during an elaborate pageant.

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7 comments on “Little Known Facts About the History of Curry Village in Yosemite

  1. This blog post mistakenly credits the Curry Family with building the Ahwahnee hotel. This is not accurate. A Curry son-in-law DID serve as the first head of the merger of Yosemite national park company and Curry company, but the Curry family(ies) were NOT directly involved in building this iconic Hotel

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    • Hi Mark, the Curry family’s company, Curry Camping Company, and the Yosemite National Park Company merged to become the Yosemite Park & Curry Company, which was required by the Interior Department to build a luxury hotel in Yosemite Valley that became The Ahwahnee. Donald Tresidder, Mary Curry’s husband, served as the first president of the company. Check out “The Ahwahnee: Yosemite’s Grand Hotel” by Keith Walklet for more history.

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      • Thanks, Michelle. I knew those things you printed, but was happy to have the record set straight. It was my Grandfather, ABC Dohrmann (and others) who voted for Tressider to be the merged company’s first President, thus burying a hatchet that had been too long out in front of god and everybody, he blending of the two companies, handled by a Curry son-in-law… who proved to be an excellent choice.

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  2. What about the Camp Curry Grizzly Club for kids I loved it when we stayed at Camp Curry for a 2-3 weeks during the summer. Around 1945-1948. We often had deer roam through the campground and, unfortunately, some kids were attacked when they got too close. CC sure has grown up since I was there in the 40’s.

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  3. Wonderful history. I have many fond memories of summers at Camp Curry, the firefalls (which I hope they will re-esablish someday), staying at the Ahwahnee hotel as an adult, and Housekeeping tents, as well. Yosemite is a magical place and well maintained. Camping out, while not my favorite, was nonetheless an affordable outing as we were raising our children. Upscale housekeeping tents followed.

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  4. The re-naming from Camp Curry to the present name happened sometime in the late 1960s…is there any record of the rationale for that name-change? Also, I have wondered whether the apple orchard (now a parking lot) pre-dated Camp Curry.

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