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From Dream to Reality: Groveland Yosemite Gateway Museum

By Harriet Codeglia, Groveland Yosemite Gateway Museum/Southern Tuolumne County Historical Society

Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about Americans:

"If, in a local community, a citizen becomes aware of a human need which is not being met, he

discusses the situation with his neighbors. Suddenly a committee comes into existence. The committee...begins to operate on behalf of the need and a new community function is established. It is like watching a miracle because these citizens perform this act without a single reference to any bureaucracy or any official agency."

This is exactly what happened in the Big Oak Flat/Groveland area that led to the creation of the Groveland Yosemite Gateway Museum. After Boise Cascade began the development of the Pine Mountain Lake in Groveland in 1969, a group of local citizens formed the Highway 120 Association to promote Groveland to travelers to Yosemite. Later, from that association came another group whose primary interest was the history of this Gold Rush town. The Southern Tuolumne County Historical Society was formed in 1987 "for the express purpose of recording, preserving, protecting and making available for the public benefit the total history of our area". This was expanded to include the natural history of the area also.