Yosemite Park and Curry Company Collection

Finding aid created by Yosemite National Park Archives staff using RecordEXPRESS
Yosemite National Park Archives
5083 Foresta Road
El Portal, California 95318

Descriptive Summary

Title: Yosemite Park and Curry Company Collection
Dates: 1889-2003
Collection Number: YCN: 2001 (
Extent: 480 LF
Online items available
Repository: Yosemite National Park Archives
El Portal, California 95318
Abstract: The Yosemite Park and Curry Company Collection contains the business records of one of the largest and longest operating concessioners in the national park system. The Yosemite Park and Curry Company (YP&C C) was organized in 1925 when Yosemite National Park’s two largest concessionaires, the Yosemite National Park Co. (previously the D.J. Desmond Co.) which operated the Yosemite Lodge and other smaller enterprises at Yosemite, and the Curry Camping Co. which operated Camp Curry, merged. Creation of the new company was the culmination of a decade-long effort by NPS Director Stephen Mather to consolidate services at Yosemite to better serve the visiting public and more efficiently develop visitor services in the park. YP&CC eventually acquired rights to the Wawona Hotel concession (1923) as well as the Degnan Family’s Valley concession (1974). YP&CC remained a Curry Family controlled corporation until the death of Mary Curry Tressider in 1970. After several ownership changes, MCA, Inc. took control of YP&CC in 1973, operating the concession until the NPS awarded a new contract to Delaware North Company in 1993. During its sixty-eight years of operation, YP&CC interactions with the NPS set many precedents for concessionaire operations in the national park system, and played an influential role in the development of tourism in California. Among the Company’s most significant activities was the development of a strong winter sports infrastructure and tradition at Yosemite including construction and operation of Badger Pass, California’s first down-hill ski area; establishment of the Yosemite Winter Club; and creation of the Bracebridge Dinner. Among other accomplishments, the company also expanded the High Sierra Camps and created the Yosemite Mountaineering School . MCA donated the YP&CC archives to the National Park Service in 1990, and accretions to the collection have continued. The collection includes company papers of the Desmond, Yosemite National Park Co., Kings River Camping Co., Curry Camping Co., and YP&CC, consisting of a large assemblage of documents, photographs, ephemera, architectural drawings, motion picture film, and audio cassettes. Subjects: Operations, facilities, services, and promotion of the YP&CC (and preceding concessionaires) at Yosemite, including such activities as: transportation of visitors, construction and maintenance of structures, personnel activities, staff at work (including such notable employees as Ansel Adams and Dana Morgenson), and special events.
Language of Material: English


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Preferred Citation

Yosemite Park and Curry Company Collection. Yosemite National Park Archives

Acquisition Information

Transferred to the park with deed of gift in 1993 after YPCC lost their concession contract to operate in the park.

Biography/Administrative History

Yosemite Park and Curry Company Corporate History The Yosemite Park and Curry Company (YP&CC) was the primary park concessioner at Yosemite National Park for nearly 70 years (1925-1993), making it one of the longest operating concessions in any National Park Service (NPS) area. The operation of YP&CC and the issues confronted and decisions made by the NPS at Yosemite had a great impact on the development of concession policy for the entire park system. Prior to the creation of the YPCC in 1925, numerous small businesses had operated within the boundaries of what would become Yosemite National Park, beginning as early as 1856. By the time the National Park Service took over Chronology 1899 David and Jenny Curry est. Camp Curry in Yosemite Valley 1911 Curry Camping Co. incorporated – all stock owned by the Curry Family 1915 D.J. Desmond Co. granted permit to operate hotel and camp under the name Camp Yosemite 1916 D.J. Desmond Co. granted 20 year concession contract; purchased Camp Lost Arrow, Camp Ahwahnee, Yosemite Transportation Co., Sentinel and Glacier Point Hotels (built new hotel at GP in 1917). Started Big Trees Lodge in 1919. 1920 Desmond Co. reorganized as Yosemite National Park Co. 1932 Washburn Family sold their interests assets at Wawona to the NPS; YP&CC leased Wawona Hotel from NPS as part of concessions contract. 1935 YP&CC completed construction of Badger Pass Ski Lodge 1941 Ostrander Lake Ski Hut built by NPS CCC Crews; operated by YP&CC? 1976 YP&CC purchased Degnan’s Deli and Bakery 1993 Delaware North Company of Rochester, NY, granted 15-year concession contract by the National Park Service; YP&CC owned by DNC, but now called Yosemite Concession Services. Scope and Content The collection contains not only the corporate records of YPCC, but business records of several other concession operations which predated the creation of YPCC in 1925. Records of Camp Ahwahnee, the Kings River Park Company, the Desmond Hotel Company, the Washburn Family, operators of the Wawona Hotel until 1932, are all found in the collection and date as early as 188?. However, the bulk of the material is from the two companies – the Curry Camping Company and the Yosemite National Park Company – which merged to form YPCC in 1925. The collection consists of records pertaining to all aspects of company operation, including administrative, financial, facilities maintenance, and marketing and advertisement; photographs; motion picture film Within the administrative materials are the business papers of Mary Curry Tressider – president from 19?? until her death in 1970. Materials in the collection The majority of the materials came to the Yosemite Archives in 199?, following a donation by the other materials trickled in after being stored for a number of years in corners of the park, such as the Gore House in Wawona. In 1980, the YPCC obtained an appraisal of its records as part of the negotiations to donate the materials to the NPS, but the final donation did not occur until 1993.

Scope and Content of Collection

SERIES I: YPCC Collection Metadata Subseries 1 – Archival Appraisal Subseries 2 – Index to Collection Subseries 3 – Photo Logs SERIES II: Curry Camping Company Subseries 1 – Camp Ahwahnee Subseries 2 – Wawona Hotel Co. Subseries 3 – Board of Directors Minutes Subseries 4 – Financial Records Subseries 5 – Consolidation Records SERIES III: Yosemite National Park Company Subseries 1 – Administrative Records Subseries 2 – Financial Records Subseries 3 – Correspondence Subseries 4 – Yosemite Lodge Guestbooks Subseries 5 – Consolidation Records SERIES IV: YPCC Executive Office Files Subseries 1 – Mary Curry Tressider Papers Subseries 2 – Alphabetical Files Subseries 3 – “Historical Files” Subseries 4 – Spencer Files Subseries 5 – Ed Hardy Files Subseries 6 – Executive Committee Meeting Minutes Subseries 7 – Annual Reports Subseries 8 - Reports to the Department of the Interior Subseries 9 – Railroad Commission Annual and Quarterly Reports Subseries 10 – Agreements/Contracts Subseries 11 – Inventories Subseries 12 – Correspondence Subseries 13 – Statistics Subseries 14 – Conference of NPS Concessioners Subseries 15 – Transportation Sub-sub 1 – General Sub-sub 2 Car Operating Costs Sub-sub 3 – Glacier Pt Tramway Subseries 16 – YPCC Files on Yosemite National Park Master Planning Subseries 17 – Yellowstone Inquiry Subseries 18 – Building Photographs Sub-sub 1 – Building Photographs 1977 Sub-sub 2 – Bill Melton Pictoral Record of Non-Extant YNP Buildings 1978 SERIES V: YPCC Financial Records Subseries 1 – Administration and Correspondence Sub-sub 1 – Investments Sub-sub 2 – Audits Sub-sub 3 – Budgets Sub-sub 4 – Tax Documents Subseries 2 – Journals Subseries 3 – Appraisal/Insurance Subseries 4 – Rate Schedules Subseries 5 – Ledgers Subseries 6 – Working Papers Sub-sub 1 – Operating Statements Sub-sub 2 – Balance Sheets Subseries 7 – Stock Sub-sub 1 – Correspondence Sub-sub 2 – Stock Warrants Sub-sub 3 – Cancelled Stock SERIES VI: YPCC Personnel Records Subseries 1 – Unemployment Insurance Subseries 2 – Help Counts Sub-sub 1 – Employee Rosters Subseries 3 – Payroll Subseries 4 – Employee Manuals/Training Subseries 5 – Affirmative Action Subseries 6 – Employee Related Benefits SERIES VII: YPCC Facilities/Operations Subseries 1 – Betterment Orders Subseries 2 – Building Construction/Renovation Subseries 3 – Utilities Subseries 4 – Ahwahnee Hotel (construction/renovation) SERIES VIII: YPCC Marketing and Public Relations Subseries 1 – General Correspondence Subseries 2 – Convention Correspondence Subseries 3 – Advertising Corespondence Subseries 4 – John Poimoroo Files Subseries 5 – Newsletters Subseries 6 – Newspapers Subseries 7 – Photographs Subseries 8 – Ephemera Sub-sub 1 – Brochures, pamphlets, guides Sub-sub 2 - Subseries 9 – Media Sub-sub 1 – Videos Sub-sub 2 – Audio Cassettes Sub-sub 3 – DV Cams Sub-sub 4 – Reel to Reel Film Subseries 10 – Printshop Sub-sub 1 – Print Shop Equipment Sub-sub 2 – Miscellaneous Posters, etc. SERIES IX: YPCC Special Events Subseries 1 – Ahwahnee 50th Anniversary Subseries 2 – Queen’s Visit SERIES X: Yosemite Winter Club Subseries 1 – Club Activities Subseries 2 – Bracebridge Dinner Subseries 3 - Scrapbook SERIES XI: Maps, Plans and Drawings Subseries 1: Ahwahnee SERIES XII: Washburn Papers 1910-1922 Subseries 1 – Correspondence Subseries 2 – Sentinel Hotel, Glacier Point Hotel Subseries 3 – Yosemite Stage & Turnpike Co. Subseries 4 – Wawona Washburn Papers (Tom Bopp Donation)