Guide to the Calaveras Big Trees State Park Collection

Processed by Margo Lentz-Meyer
California State Parks Archives
4940 Lang Avenue Suite 114
McClellan, CA 95652
Phone: 916-263-0779
FAX: 916-663-0858
Email: department.archives@parks.ca.gov
URL: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=1080
© 2015
California State Parks Archives. All rights reserved.


Descriptive Summary

Title: Calaveras Big Trees SP collection
Date (inclusive): 1854-2013
Date (bulk): (bulk 1960-1990)
Collection number: CSPA-306
Creator: Calaveras Big Trees State Park
Extent: 7 linear feet, including 2 map folders.
Repository: California State Parks
McClellan, California 95652
Abstract: Calaveras Big Trees State Park, situated in both Calaveras and Tuolumne Counties, is located three miles north of Arnold, California off Highway 4. Calaveras became a State Park in 1931 to preserve the North Grove of giant sequoias. In 1954, Calaveras South Grove was added to the park, uniting and protecting the North and South Groves. The Calaveras Big Trees State Park Collection is arranged in twelve series: 1. Correspondence, 2. Ephemera, 3. Facilities, 4. Histories, 5. Interpretation, 6. Legal, 7. Publications, 8. Subject Files, 9. Cartographic Material, 10. Photographic Material, and 11. Reports. Items span the years 1854-2013 with the bulk of the material falling between 1960-1990.
Physical Location: California State Parks Archives
Languages: Languages represented in this collection: English

Access

The collection is open for research. Cultural and archaeological site maps are restricted. Reports with sensitive data may be restricted. Consult repository for details.

Publication Rights

For permission to reproduce or publish, please consult the California State Parks Archives archivist. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Parks Archives, McClellan as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement that may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Parks Archives.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Calaveras Big Trees State Park Collection, CSPA-306: [box: folder number], California State Parks Archives, Sacramento, California.

Acquisition Information

Calaveras Big Trees SP donated the majority of the material in this collection in 2002. Additional correspondence, maps, and deeds were added from Central Records in 2015.

Processing Information

Margo Lentz-Meyer processed this collection and created and encoded its finding aid in 2015.

Administrative History

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, situated in both Calaveras and Tuolumne Counties, is located three miles north of Arnold, California off Highway 4. The park is named after the massive giant sequoias that reach heights of up to 325 ft. and diameters of 33 ft. The park is comprised of two groves of mixed conifer forest, North Grove and South Grove. The North Grove of Calaveras Big Trees came under the protection of the State of California in 1931 to preserve the giant sequoias. In 1954, Calaveras South Grove was acquired from the Pickering Lumber Company, uniting the two groves and establishing Calaveras Big Trees State Park as it is known today.
Although the area had been known and was used by the Indians who lived there for thousands of years, the 'discovery' of the North Grove is most frequently attributed to Augustus T. Dowd. In 1852, Dowd recorded his siting of the 'Big Tree' in the North Grove while on a bear hunt. The 'Big Tree,' shortly after its discovery became the 'Big Stump,' a popular exhibition site. Over time the stump was used for a number of activities in the Grove including: dancing, theatrical performances, concerts, lectures, divine services, weddings, a schoolroom, and a bowling alley. However, during this time the trees in the area were quickly being exploited.
In 1928, the California State Park System was established through a bond act and in 1931 the North Grove was purchased. The land was acquired with funding from the Calaveras Grove Association and the Save the Redwoods League with the help from private donors including John D. Rockefeller Jr. and Mrs. William H. Crocker. Following a lull in state funding and park acquisitions due to the Great Depression and two world wars, the South Grove was finally purchased from Pickering Lumber Company in 1954.
Calaveras Big Trees has a total of eight standing historic structures associated with the early hotel period or with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) period of development. The Park office building is the only building remaining from the old hotel period and was once a part of the Big Trees Hotel complex. The remaining seven rustic architecture buildings were constructed by the CCC in the 1930s. In addition to the construction of buildings the CCC also built camp and picnic facilities, built trails, cleaned and smoothed the Big Stump, improved the park's water supply, renovated the old hotel, instituted fire protection measures, and performed other conservation work.
Since the discovery of the North Grove by Euroamericans in the mid-1800s the North Grove area has arguably been the longest continuously operating recreational site in California. Calaveras Big Trees State Park provides visitors with varied recreational opportunities including camping, hiking, nature study, picnicking, swimming, and fishing.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Calaveras Big Trees State Park Collection is arranged in elevan series: 1. Correspondence, 2. Legal, 3. Facilities, 4. Subject Files, 5. Interpretation, 6. Histories, 7. Publications, 8. Ephemera, 9. Photographic Material, 10. Cartographic Material, and 11. Reports. Items span the years 1854-2013 with the bulk of the material falling in between 1960-2000.
Series one, Correspondence, consists of general correspondence and memorandum between Calaveras Big Tree State Park advocates and employees to other branches of national and state government officials spanning the years 1932-2002. This series also contains correspondence pertaining to grants and easements dating from 1934-1981. Series two, Legal, contains correspondence and memoranda regarding legal issues relating to the park from 1928-1991. It also contains copies of official park deeds from 1949 and original and copies of Gift or Loan of Personal Property documents from 1990-1991.
Series three, Facilities, consists of records concerning the maintenance of park grounds and facilities. Series four, Subject Files, is divided into four subseries each of which contains correspondence, memorandum, and reports. The four subseries are: Civilian Conservation Corps, the Parks General Plan, Inventory of Features, and Prescribed Burn Project. Series five, Interpretation, consists of interpretive plans and prospectuses, as well as exhibit plans, and a teachers' guide to the park.
Series six, Histories, contains background information and history of the area in and surrounding Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Series seven, Publications, contains books, newspaper clippings, journal clippings and magazine clippings documenting the history of the park and its contents. Series eight, Ephemera, consists of trail guides, program guides, post cards, and pamphlets.
Series nine, Photographic Material, consists of slides, 35mm black and white negatives, 35mm color negatives, 4x6 inch black and white negatives, color and black and white prints, and Oversized Photos dating from 1925-1998. Series ten, Cartographic Material, contains maps of the topography and geography of the park, and blue prints of park facilities and buildings.
Series eleven, Reports, includes reports produced by State of California Department of Parks and Recreation and reports produced by cultural resource management contractors.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Calaveras Big Trees Association
Calaveras Big Trees State Park (Calif.)
California. Dept. of Parks and Recreation
Civilian Conservation Corps (U.S.)
Cultural resources
Esthetic resources
Giant sequoia
Miwok Indians
Natural resources
North Grove Trail (Calif.)
Sierra Nevada (Calif. and Nev.)
Stanislaus River (Calif.)

Related Collections

Francis-Bishop Papers

Collection Contents

Box 1 : 1 - 3 : 2

Series 1.  Correspondence 1932-2002

Physical Description: 24 file folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Correspondence is arranged chronologically and divided into two categories: general correspondence and Grants and Easement correspondence. General Correspondence consists of correspondence and memoranda from Natural Resources dating from 1932-2002: Division of Beaches and Parks regarding park boundaries, acquisitions, interested parties, natural resources, cultural resources, existing and future structures. Grants and Easement correspondence contains detailed correspondence regarding grants and easements ranging from 1934-1981 with the exception of 1951 and 1953 the contents whereabouts are unknown.
Box 1 : 1

General Correspondence 1932-1955

Box 1 : 2

General Correspondence 1960-1969

Box 1 : 3

General Correspondence 1970-1979

Box 1 : 4

General Correspondence 1980-1989

Box 1 : 5

General Correspondence 1990-2002

Box 1 : 6

Grants and Easements 1934-1950

Box 1 : 7

Grants and Easements 1952

Box 1 : 8

Grants and Easements 1954

Box 1 : 9

Grants and Easements 1955

Box 1 : 10

Grants and Easements 1956-1957

Box 1 : 11

Grants and Easements 1958

Box 1 : 12

Grants and Easements 1959

Box 1 : 13

Grants and Easements 1960-1961

Box 2 : 1

Grants and Easements 1962-1963

Box 2 : 2

Grants and Easements 1964

Box 2 : 3

Grants and Easements 1965

Box 2 : 4

Grants and Easements 1966

Box 2 : 5

Grants and Easements 1967

Box 2 : 6

Grants and Easements 1968

Box 2 : 7

Grants and Easements 1969

Box 2 : 8

Grants and Easements 1970-1971

Box 2 : 9

Grants and Easements 1972-1973

Box 3 : 1

Grants and Easements 1974-1975

Box 3 : 2

Grants and Easements 1976-1981

Box 3 : 3 - 5 : 8

Series 2.  Legal 1928-1991

Physical Description: 21 file folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Arranged chronologically, includes legal correspondence, copies of deeds from 1949, and copies and original Gift or Loan of Personal Property documents from 1990-1991.
Box 3 : 3

Correspondence 1928-1931

Box 3 : 4

Correspondence 1932-1933

Box 3 : 5

Correspondence 1936-1945

Box 3 : 6

Correspondence 1946-1947

Box 3 : 7

Correspondence 1948

Box 3 : 8

Correspondence 1949

Box 3 : 9

Correspondence 1950

Box 4 : 1

Correspondence Jan 1951 - June 1951

Box 4 : 2

Correspondence July 1951 - Dec 1951

Box 4 : 3

Correspondence Jan 1952 - June 1952

Box 4 : 4

Correspondence July 1952 - Dec 1952

Box 4 : 5

Correspondence 1953

Box 4 : 6

Correspondence Jan 1954 - June 1954

Box 5 : 1

Correspondence July 1954 - Dec 1954

Box 5 : 2

Correspondence 1955

Box 5 : 3

Correspondence 1958

Box 5 : 4

Correspondence 1959

Box 5 : 5

Correspondence 1960

Box 5 : 6

Correspondence 1961-1970

Box 5 : 7

Correspondence 1971-1989

Box 5 : 8

Deeds 1949-1991

Box 5 : 9 - 6 : 7

Series 3.  Facilities 1929-1990

Physical Description: 13 file folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Arranged alphabetically by subject title. Each facility folder contains correspondence, memos, reports, and plans regarding the maintenance of structures or projects taking place on park premises.
Box 5 : 9

Butte Store 1984-1988

Box 5 : 10

Comfort Station 100 1962

Box 5 : 11

Comfort Station 207-1 1961-1963

Box 5 : 12

Expansion Study: Final Report 1966

Box 5 : 13

Expansion Study: Reports 1929-1961

Box 5 : 14

General 1945-1989

Box 6 : 1 - 2

Grading and Surfacing Project: Road from the North Fork of the Stanislaus River to Beaver Creek Station 1966-1967

Box 6 : 3

North Fork Stanislaus River Bridge 1953-1977

Box 6 : 4

Pedestrian Bridge 1984

Box 6 : 5

Telephone Cable 1990

Box 6 : 6

Walter W. Smith Memorial Parkway Repairs 1954-1968

Box 6 : 7

Walter W. Smith Memorial Parkway Repairs 1968-1987

Box 7 : 1 - 10 : 4

Series 4.  Subject Files 1859-2006

Physical Description: 26 file folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Subject Files are divided into four subseries and are arranged by subject in each subseries: Civilian Conservation Corps, General Plan, Inventory of Features, and Prescribed Burn Project.
Box 7 : 1 - 7 : 4

Subseries 4.1.  Civilian Conservation Corps 1859-2006

Physical Description: 4 file folders

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

Includes historical records regarding CCC work in the park, maintenance of CCC projects, and CCC constructed buildings. Arranged into subject folders and chronologically within each folder.
Box 7 : 1

Civilian Conservation Corps, General Information_ Pamphlets, Memos, Correspondence, Notes, Maps 1933-2006

Box 7 : 2

Civilian Conservation Corps: Concrete Water Tank and Pumphouse_ Memos Correspondence, Notes 1988-1991

Box 7 : 3

Mammoth Grove Hotel and Outbuildings_ Graphics, Background, Reports, Correspondence, Notes 1859-2004

Box 7 : 4

Meadow Restoration Project_ Correspondence, Notes, Reports 2000-2002

Box 7 : 5 - 9 : 2

Subseries 4.2.  General Plan 1955-1998

Physical Description: 14 file folders

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

Records include correspondence, planning documents, preliminary and final drafts of the General Plan. Arranged chronologically.
Box 7 : 5

Correspondence 1955-1962

Box 7 : 6

Correspondence 1964-1969

Box 7 : 7

Correspondence 1985-1986

Box 7 : 8

Correspondence 1986-1989

Box 7 : 9

Planning Documents 1908-1987

Box 8 : 1

Planning Documents undated

Box 8 : 2

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Visitor Center Development Plan 1998

Box 8 : 3

Status of Sequoia Gigantea in The Sierra Nevada, Report to the Legislature, State of California 1952

Box 8 : 4

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Resource Element, Preliminary Draft 1985

Box 8 : 5

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Resource Element, Final Draft 1986

Box 8 : 6 - 7

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, General Plan Draft 1989

Box 9 : 1 - 2

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, General Plan Final 1989

Box 9 : 3 - 10 : 2

Subseries 4.3.  Inventory of Features 1984-1986

Physical Description: 6 file folders

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

This series includes various drafts of reports documenting the cultural and natural resources in the park that are arranged alphabetically by subject.
Box 9 : 3

Inventory of Features: Cultural Resources, Draft undated

Box 9 : 4 - 5

Inventory of Features: Cultural Resources, Final 1986

Box 9 : 6

Inventory of Features: Cultural Resources, Notes and Memos 1985-1991

Box 10 : 1

Inventory of Features: Resource Inventory Report 1982

Box 10: 2

Inventory of Features: Summary 1984

Box 10 : 3 - 4

Subseries 4.4.  Prescribed Burn Project 1972-1989

Physical Description: 2 file folders

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

Records are arranged chronologically documenting the history of prescribed burning in the park and reports on the methodology and practice of prescribed burn projects.
Box 10 : 3

Prescribed Burn Project 1972-1987

Box 10 : 4

Prescribed Burn Project 1980-1989

Box 10 : 5 - 11 : 2

Series 5.  Interpretation 1928-1988

Physical Description: 8 file folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Contains records concerning exhibits and educational material, and are arranged chronologically.
Box 10 : 5

Memoranda 1986-1988

Box 10 : 6

Research File 1928-1987

Box 10 : 7

Interpretive Plans 1976-1986

Box 10 : 8

Interpretive Prospectus, Calaveras Big Trees SP 1974-1987

Box 10 : 9

Interpretive Work Request 1978-1985

Box 10 : 10

Exhibit Text 1963-1988

Box 11 : 1

Exhibit Sketches undated

Box 11 : 2

Teachers' Guide to the Calaveras Big Trees, Resources Agency, Department of Parks and Recreation 1973

Box 11 : 3 - 11 : 7

Series 6.  Histories 1937-1986

Physical Description: 5 file folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Arranged by type of material. Contains bibliographic material, oral histories and general research on the history of the park and local area.
Box 11 : 3

Bibliographic Material 1937-1976

Box 11 : 4

General Background 1863-1957

Box 11 : 5

General Background 1961-1980

Box 11 : 6

General Background 1986

Box 11 : 7

Oral Histories_ Phil Nelson, Jenny Batty Nelson and Bob Batty; William R. Null 1982-1989

Box 11 : 8 - 12 : 12

Series 7.  Publications 1854-2013

Physical Description: 18 file folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Arranged alphabetically by author's last name, with the exception of newspaper, journal and magazine clippings, these are arranged chronologically.
Box 11 : 8

Big Tree Bulletin, Calaveras Big Trees Association 1986

Box 11 : 9

Bishop, Frances E., A Brief History of the Big Tree and The Big Stump 1985

Box 11 : 10

Brant Irving, Protect the South Calaveras Sequoia Grove 1942

Box 11 : 11

Castro, Kenneth M. and Doris Castro, South Grove . . . Calaveras Big Trees State Park 1968

Box 11 : 12

Cook, Lawrence F., The Giant Sequoias of California 1942

Box 11 : 13

Davenport, Howard E., A Story of Calaveras Big Trees and the Oldest Living Things on Earth 1949

Box 12 : 1

DeLeon, Donald, Sequoia Insects 1952

Box 12 : 2

Engbeck Jr., Joseph H., The Enduring Giants 1973

Box 12 : 3

Engbeck Jr., Joseph H., The Enduring Giants 2013

Box 12 : 4

Huchings, J.M., The Mammoth Trees of Calaveras Scene of Wonder and Curiosity in California 1978

Box 12 : 5

Schmidt, Earl F., The Big Tree: Carson Valley Emigrant Road, A Major Branch of the California Trail 1989

Box 12 : 6

Sherwood, George H., The Big Tree and Its Story, American Museum of Natural History, Guide Leaflet No. 42 1927

Box 12 : 7

Southern Pacific Company, Big Trees of California 1911

Box 12 : 8

Wood, R. Coke, Big Tree Bulletin 1960

Box 12 : 9

Wood, R. Coke, Big Tree-Carson Valley Turnpike Ebbetts Pass and Highway Four 1968

Box 12 : 10

Wood, R. Coke, Calaveras Grove of Big Trees also Called Mammoth Grove 1974

Box 12 : 11

Newspaper Clippings 1854-1987

Box 12 : 12

Journal and Magazine Clippings 1871-1988

Box 13 : 1 - 13 : 2

Series 8.  Ephemera undated

Physical Description: 2 file folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Ephemera is divided into two categories and arranged alphabetically by title.
Box 13 : 1

General Ephemera undated

Box 13 : 2

Trail Guides undated

Box 13 : 3 - 13 : 6

Series 9.  Photographic Material 1925-1998

Physical Description: 4 file folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

All of the photographs are separated by type and arranged chronologically. The 3.5x5 color and black and white prints have been removed and are located in a separate media box.
Box 13 : 3

Slides 1986-1987

Box 13 : 4

35mm Negatives 1983-1991

Box 13 : 5

4x6 Inch Black and White Negatives undated

Box 13 : 6

Oversize Photos 1925-1998

Box 13 : 7

Series 10.  Cartographic Material 1891-1994

Physical Description: 1 file folder

Series Scope and Content Summary

All maps are arranged chronologically. The files include maps, architectural drawings, and exhibit plans. See archivist for a complete list.
Box 13 : 7

Maps 1891-1987

Box 13 : 8 - 15 : 15

Series 11.  Reports 1925-2013

Physical Description: 44 file folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Documents produced by Parks or hired contractors are arranged alphabetically by title.
Box 13 : 8

A Summary of the Archeological Resources at Calaveras Big Trees State Park 1969

Box 13 : 9

A Summary of the Historical Values at Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Cliff M. Bisbee undated

Box 13 : 10

An Assessment of the Condition of the North Grove Meadow, Calaveras Big Trees State Park 1988

Box 13 : 11

Application and Permit to Conduct Archaeological or Paleontological Investigations/Collections of Lands of the State of California 1987

Box 13 : 12

Archaeological Evaluation 1977-1979

Box 13 : 13

Archaeological Monitoring Report 2002-2011

Box 13 : 14

Archaeological Site Survey Record 1967-1969

Box 13 : 15

Archaeological Survey Reports 2006

Box 13 : 16

Baseline Studies for Evaluation of Effects of Change Flow Regime of Riparian Vegetation along the North Fork of the Stanislaus River, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California 2007

Box 13 : 17

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, an Outline for Resource Management Program, South Grove 1975

Box 13 : 18

Calaveras Big Trees New Visitor Center: Extended Phase 1 Investigation for Proposed Electrical Trench, Draft; Calaveras Big Trees New Visitor Center: Extended Phase 1 Investigation for Proposed Electrical Trench, Final 2005-2007

Box 13 : 19

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Electrical Trench Extended Phase 1 Archaeological Investigation, by Dionne Gruver, Andy Pillado 2004

Box 14 : 1

Calaveras Big Trees State Park Environmental Study Area Teacher's Guide 1972

Box 14 : 2

Cultural Resources Inventory Report for the Pacific Bell Cable Project, Arnold to Bear Valley, Calaveras and Alpine Counties, California, Final 1990

Box 14 : 3

Cultural Resources Inventory Report for the Pacific Bell Cable Project, Arnold to Bear Valley, Calaveras and Alpine Counties, California, Final and Draft 1990

Box 14 : 4

DPR 18: Request for Approval to Proceed or Encumber Funds 1986

Box 14 : 5

DPR 523: Historic Resources Inventory 1982-1983

Box 14 : 6

DPR 523: Sketch Map 2001-2005

Box 14 : 7

DPR 523: Sketch Map 1936-2001

Box 14 : 8

DPR 656: Statewide Resource Management Program 1986

Box 14 : 9

DPR 659: Cultural Resource Evaluation 1980-1986

Box 14 : 10

DPR 659: Cultural Resources Evaluation 1986-1987

Box 14 : 11

DPR 750: Historic Structure Inventory 1986

Box 14 : 12

Environmental Report, Vol. 1: Revised Application for FPC Project No. 2409, Hydro Electric Development on North Fork Stanislaus River 1975

Box 14 : 13

Guide to the Papers of Francis Evelyn Bishop 2002

Box 14 : 14

Historical and Archeological Research at Calaveras Big Trees Cottage Area, Edit. Julia Costello, Draft 1988

Box 14 : 15

Historical and Archeological Research at Calaveras Big Trees Cottage Area, Edit. Julia Costello 1998

Box 14 : 16

Negative Archaeological Survey Report 1989-1990

Box 14 : 17

Notice of Exemption 2009

Box 15 : 1

Preliminary Resources Report, Calaveras Big Trees State Park 1969

Box 15 : 2

Proceedings of the Workshop on Management of Giant Sequoia 1985

Box 15 : 3

Project Evaluation, Historical Review 2013

Box 15 : 4

Purpose Statements for the Classified Units and Major Unclassified Properties of the California State Park System: Calaveras District 2011

Box 15 : 5

Regional CEQA Evaluation 1988-1991

Box 15 : 6

Resource Management Program for South Grove, Draft and Final 1974-1975

Box 15 : 7

Scope of Collections Statement, By Bruce Thomsen 2002

Box 15 : 8

Sierra Redwood Groves, An Annotated List of the Groves Sequoiadendron giganteum in the Sierra Nevada, California, By P.W. Rundel 1968

Box 15 : 9

South Calaveras Grove of Big Trees: Preliminary Biological Survey of Units I, II, IIa, IIb, III, and IV, Proposed for Acquisition to the California State Park System 1948

Box 15 : 10

Statewide Archaeological Sites Rehabilitation, Preliminary Plans, Working Drawings and Construction 1992-1993

Box 15 : 11

The Shakemaker's Cabin, CA-Tuo-1514, Calaveras Big Trees State Park Tuolumne County, California Historic Structure Report 1995

Box 15 : 12

Timber Survey Report, Final United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service 1925

Box 15 : 13

Vascular Flora of Calaveras Big Trees SP 1965

Box 15 : 14

Vascular Plants of Calaveras Big Trees SP undated

Box 15 : 15

Visitor Use Survey: Calaveras Big Trees State Park 1986