Taking You Back in History: A Simple Sidewalk Memorial
By Kathy Brown, Groveland Yosemite Gateway Museum/Southern Tuolumne County Historical Society
Have you ever noticed that sidewalk just west of the Groveland Community Hall has the name Baird impressed into the cement? Who was Baird? Why is that name there?
The empty lot just west of the Groveland Community Hall was the site of the former Hotel Baird, part of a three building complex. The complex included the hotel, a pool hall which served as a stage stop, and the craftsman-style white house still standing just to the west of the empty lot, the Selina Lumsden House, which served as the hotel restaurant.
Why were the Baird family and Charlie Baird notable? Charlie was born in Scotland in 1884. His family came to California in 1890 and to Groveland in 1895, so Charlie lived here from age 11. At age 17 he was already driving fast-freight mule team delivery for a Sonora grocery provisioning company over a wide area and shortly after that he was running supply pack trains for the Yosemite Valley RR.
His first venture into the hotel business was in 1909, helping his mother and sisters when they leased and ran the Groveland Hotel for a while.