Rush Creek and Evergreen are bringing it again this year as Gold sponsors of the 49er Festival. The sister properties are as unique as they are uniquely different, each offering a special experience created to make each visit to Yosemite more than just a walk in the park.
Evergreen Lodge has been a vibrant part of the Yosemite landscape since 1921. The lodge was originally developed to facilitate building of the O’Shaughnessy Dam in Hetch Hetchy Valley. Though no definitive records exist, spoken history indicates that the Evergreen was founded by a man who worked on the Hetch Hetchy Railroad. That railroad was principally built to haul people and materials to and from the Hetch Hetchy dam construction site. In the early years, the Evergreen was a post office, restaurant and general store. Lore has it that moonshine was brewed in the basement of the lodge during Prohibition.
Rush Creek had its heyday during California’s Gold Rush. Historical records describe the Rush Creek property’s use for gold prospecting, mining and processing. Before Highway 120 was built, the main road into Yosemite actually passed right through Rush Creek. When Highway 120 went through in the 1960’s, a guest house was constructed at Rush Creek to serve Yosemite visitors. The guest house also served as a one room schoolhouse for the children living nearby. Guests today can still walk on the original Yosemite road behind Villas 4-7.
Owners Brian Anderluh, Lee Zimmerman, and Dan Braun bought the Evergreen in 2001, renovating the the lodge and added 75 new cabins and communal buildings. As part of their social mission, they established and continue to operate a fully self-funded employment program serving high-potential young adults from urban backgrounds who work in various departments at the lodge as paid seasonal interns.
Anderluh and Zimmerman took the same philosophy of social and environment responsibility to their creation of upscale Rush Creek Lodge. Open the summer of 2016, the award-winning new property is state-of-the-art in design, comfort, and amenities, as well as boasting one of the most comprehensive commercial greywater systems in California. Rush Creek also offers the same highly-successful youth employment program, and both properties are established as B Corps. A relatively new form of company, B Corps are designed for long-term sustainability, putting the health of our communities, environment and staff on the same level as the health of the bottom line.
The owners of Evergreen Lodge and Rush Creek Lodge feel lucky to be stewards of such special places and we feel lucky too, because their stewardship extends into our community. Both Evergreen Lodge and Rush Creek Lodge welcome locals to take advantage of their amenities by offering 10% discounts on everything from the tavern to the gift shop to the Spa at Rush Creek and regularly advertise specials aimed at local residents.
Stop by the Rush Creek/Evergreen booth at the 49er Festival, play a game, win a prize, and be sure to thank them for being a sponsor.