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Yosemite Valley Chapel, Yosemite National Park, CA


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I started off my Thanksgiving Holiday with a quick trip to Yosemite. The Chapel looked quite lovely nestled in fall foliage and fronted by frosty grass. It was 27° in the Valley when I arrived. I prefer that over the 97° that greeted me in Orange County a couple of days later!


My next goal is to photograph the Chapel with snow. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!


Winter is Coming!

Winter sun on the Chapel - Yosemite Village.

9000 Southside Dr, Yosemite Valley, CA


locator: YOS_3248


image by Photo George

Copyrighted: ©2010 GCheatle

all rights reserved


Chapel is a "working" Church - Church Worship Services

Summer Schedule: Memorial Day to Labor Day

Sunday 9:15 am & 11:00 am

Winter Schedule: Sunday 9:15 am

Mid-Week Service: Thursday 7:00 pm


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Yosemite Valley Chapel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Yosemite Valley Chapel

listed: U.S. National Register of Historic Places


Location Yosemite Valley, off CA 140, Yosemite National Park

Coordinates: 37°44′27″N 119°35′26″W


Area 1 acre (0.40 ha)

Built 1879

Architectural style Carpenter Gothic

NRHP reference # 73000256 [1]

Added to NRHP December 12, 1973


The Yosemite Valley Chapel was built in the Yosemite Valley of California in 1879.


History: The wooden chapel was designed by San Francisco architect Charles Geddes in the Carpenter Gothic style. It was built by Geddes' son-in-law, Samuel Thompson of San Francisco, for the California State Sunday School Association, at a cost of three or four thousand dollars.


The chapel was originally built in the "Lower Village" as called then, its site at the present day trailhead of the Four Mile Trail. The chapel was moved to its present location in 1901, as the old Lower Village dwindled.


Description: As stipulated in the organization's application for permission, the chapel is an interdenominational facility. The L-shaped frame chapel covers an area of about 1,470 square feet (137 m2). It is clad in board and batten siding with a prominent steeple. It seats about 250 people.


Preservation: The chapel was restored in 1965, when its foundations were raised in response to a 1964 flood,[4] but was damaged in the 1997 Yosemite Valley floods and required repair.[3] The chapel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 12, 1973.


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“simple architecture” that was representative of “a particularly fine example of the early chapels constructed in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.” The oldest structure in Yosemite Valley, it was designed by Charles Geddes, an accomplished church architect from San Francisco. Geddes’ son-in-law, Samuel Thomson—with whom he collaborated on other church projects—is believed to have been the project's contractor.


Designed in a "New England style" to seat 250 people, the chapel originally consisted of only one room, 26-by-50 feet long, with inside stud walls and rafters left exposed. Eventually an addition was added to the back of the church.


By 1901, the surrounding “Lower Village” had nearly disappeared, so the chapel was relocated to its present location in the Old Village. In 1965 some interior restoration was completed, and the foundation was raised 3 feet to help protect the structure from periodic flooding. In spite of these efforts, the chapel sustained damage during the 1997 flood and required further restoration.


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Carpenter Gothic, also sometimes called Carpenter's Gothic, and Rural Gothic, is a North American architectural style-designation for an application of Gothic Revival architectural detailing and picturesque massing applied to wooden structures built by house-carpenters.


Carpenter Gothic houses and small churches became common in North America in the late nineteenth century.[2] These structures adapted Gothic elements such as pointed arches, steep gables, and towers to traditional American light-frame construction.

The chapel with an over the shoulder peeking Half Dome.


Built in 1879, The Chapel is the oldest structure in Yosemite Valley. Yosemite National Park.

October 19, 2009


Camera: Canon EOS 50D

Exposure: 0.022 sec (1/45)

Aperture: f/4.5

Focal Length: 31 mm

ISO Speed: 100

Exposure Bias: -1/2 EV

Yosemite National Park, CA


October 27, 2008


©Dale Haussner


The History of Yosemite Valley Chapel


" Of the structures in public use in Yosemite National Park, the Yosemite Valley Chapel is now the oldest. This little New England style church was built under the sponsorship of the California State Sunday School Association, partly by subscriptions from the children, but mainly from the voluntary contributions of prominent members of the Association.


The Chapel was built in 1879 under the auspices of the Yosemite Union Chapel Association. Their stated purpose was: "To erect an undenominational house of worship in the Yosemite Valley". They took their inspiration from two Old Testament scripture verses:


Haggai 1:8: "Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD."


Isaiah 2:2: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it."


Mr. Charles Geddes, a leading architect of San Francisco, made and presented the plans. Mr. E. Thomson, also of San Francisco, erected the building at a cost of between three and four thousand dollars. It will seat an audience of about two hundred and fifty. Mr. H. D. Bacon of Oakland donated the bell. When its first notes rang out on the evening of dedication, it was the first sound of "the church-going bell" ever heard in Yosemite. ["In the Heart of the Sierras" by James M. Hutchings (1888)]


The first service was held on June 7, 1879, and the church was filled to overflowing by delegates to the National Sunday School Assembly who were meeting in Yosemite Valley at that time.


The first organ in the Chapel was given by Miss Mary Porter of Philadelphia in memory of Florence Hutchings. Florence was the unofficial, but faithful caretaker of the Chapel during the summer of 1879-1881. She died in a climbing accident at the tender age of 17.


In 1887, on the death of President Grant, a memorial service was held in the Chapel. The organist for the day was Sir Arthur Sullivan, famed composer and collaborator with Sir William Gilbert in the famous Gilbert and Sullivan light operas. Sir Arthur was visiting in the Valley at the time and was asked to assist in the service.


The original location of the Chapel structure was on rising ground near the base of the Four Mile trail, a mile or so down the Valley from its present site on the south side of Yosemite Valley.


In the passage of years, the old Chapel, built in the midst of a busy community, lost one by one its companion buildings, until, with the moving on of community activity to other parts of the Valley, it stood alone. In 1901, it was taken down and moved to its present site.


The Yosemite Valley Chapel was given Historic American building status by the National Park Service in 1965. Following this, its interior was restored and a new foundation was placed under it.


Although the Chapel continues today primarily as a house of worship, over the years it has become a popular wedding destination due to the spectacular setting and the quaint beauty of the building. The first Chapel wedding took place on October 24, 1884."


For more info, see:


The oldest building in Yosemite Valley.

The Yosemite Valley Chapel was built in the Yosemite Valley of California in 1879.

Yosemite National Park, California - Feeling a bit nostalgic, I decided to post something completely different today. Looking back over some of my old photos that had been scanned, this was one of the few that I didn't hate. After nearly 18 years, I think it may be time for a return trip to Yosemite Valley and I'd like to see what has changed in that time. I also just may take the old film camera for a walk today ...

Yosemite Valley Chapel

Yosemite Valley Chapel

Yosemite Valley Chapel

Yosemite falls, Yosemite National Park California. Flows only during the winter months November-July.


Yosemite Falls, one of the world's tallest, is actually made up of three separate falls: Upper Yosemite Fall (1,430 feet), the middle cascades (675 feet), and Lower Yosemite Fall (320 feet).


The church to the right is The Vosemite Valley Chapel which was origianlly built in 1879 and moved one mile to its current loction in 1901.


This shot is an HDR of 5 bracketed images, then further processed into B/W in Photoshop.

While, I'm not the first person to post a photo of the classic Yosemite Chapel in the snow... I felt it was a very fitting image to capture on a Christmas Day outing with my wife and I took to Yosemite for the freshly fallen snow the night before.


Having only been to Yosemite in the spring and summer months, it really does take on a different visual beauty to it in the winter snow.


Happy Holidays

Yosemite National Park at sun rise.

Yosemite Valley Chapel

Yosemite Valley Chapel

Yosemite Valley Chapel

Yosemite Valley Chapel

Yosemite National Park, California 2012

Yosemite Valley Chapel

upper yosemite falls in the background, yosemite valley chapel in the foreground.

Yosemite Valley Chapel

Yosemite Valley Chapel

Yosemite Valley Chapel

Explored the Valley floor while spending time before "check-in" at our accomodations

The Yosemite Valley Chapel, designed by Charles Geddes, was built in 1879 with funding support from the California State Sunday School Association. The Carpenter Gothic style chapel was moved to its present location in 1901. In 2013, when the photograph was taken, the chapel was used to hold religious services for visitors and employees at Yosemite National Park. Yosemite Valley Chapel is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Yosemite Valley Chapel

Yosemite Valley Chapel

Yosemite Valley Chapel

from USA(edwardbear)


Built in 1879,the Yosemite Valley Chapel is still in use today.Fund-raising efforts of children,and donations from the California State Sunday School Association helped pay for its construction as original location was near the base of the Four-Mile Trail and in 1901,the building was relocated to its present site.The Chapel is the last remaining historic structure from what was known as "Old Village",a cluster of hotels,stores and other buildings in existence as early as the 1870s.

Thanks for the nice card,Lori!

Now that the dust from the frenzy of the holidays have settled down, its time to get into some serious photography. I wish that could be easier done than said, but that is not likely the case for me. Due to unforseeable medical conditions, I will have to take a break from photography for a while. Hopefully to come out stronger than before


That only means I will not be able to shoot for a while - but I still will be able to dig through archives and find some hidden gems that I had missed in previous searches. This also gives me time to catalog all my images completely.


Gems like the Yosemite Valley Chapel, a bright red chapel that stands under the shadow of Half Dome, steadfastedly in knee deep snow of the winter or the sweltering heat of the summer. And it looks great in both. It especially comes alive in fall with some colorful foliage.


Here, a cloudy winter day prevented me from getting the most of its color and I had opted to do this BW conversion gingerly to make it look like an infra-red image.


Shot from afar at 70mm, ISO 400, F5.6 @ 1/320th sec.


Below is a shot the gorgeous Ahwahnee hotel, a majestic rock structure standing about beside the beautiful Yosemite Falls. Its rock substructure and wooden walls blends in harmoniously with its breathtaking surroundings. It would have made a nice shot for a summer day. However, cloudy skies this winter day led to a whiteout while trying to expose for the hotel.


Shot at 22m, ISO 100, F11 @ 1/100th sec


Yosemite National Park


9/19/1979 -- Yosemite Valley Chapel in Yosemite National Park, CA.