100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

John Muir in California

John Muir was born in Dunbar, Scotland in 1838. His family emigrated to the US in 1849 starting a farm in Wisconsin. In 1860 Muir attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison where he took his first botany lesson. To avoid being drafted in the Civil War, he wandered the woods in Wisconsin making his way to Canada where he worked at a sawmill. In 1867 he was still working in lumber in the US when an accident almost blinded him. This changed Muir’s outlook on life profoundly : “This affliction has driven me to the sweet fields. God has to nearly kill us sometimes, to teach us lessons.” Muir then decided to walk 1,000 miles from Indiana to Florida seeking out the “wildest, leafiest, and least trodden way I could find.”

In 1868 Muir traveled to California immediately seeking out Yosemite valley. He was enthralled with the grandeur of this wilderness which would be his special place on earth for the rest of his life. He became an established figure in the valley and visiting scientists, celebrities and nature enthusiasts sought him out. Muir started reading Ralph Waldo Emerson who wrote about a life where one “returned to Nature.” In 1871 the two men met in Yosemite where Emerson offered Muir a professorship at Harvard but Muir thankfully declined preferring “God’s big show” to anything cities had to offer.

Muir worked with the associate editor of Century magazine, Robert Underwood Johnson, in conserving Yosemite and establishing a national park along the lines of Yellowstone National Park. In 1890 Yosemite was established as a California State park. In 1892 Muir along with Professor Henry Senger formed a club for mountain lovers, a ‘Sierra Club.’ In May 1892 the first meeting of the Sierra Club was held to write articles of incorporation. One week later Muir was elected president. In 1903 President Theodore Roosevelt visited Yosemite traveling by stagecoach into the park. Muir and Roosevelt ventured off by themselves and camped in the back country. In 1905 Congress transferred the Mariposa Grove and Yosemite Valley to federal control. In 1912 Muir is a noted and well-respected naturalist and nature activist. He led a loosing battle against the damming of Hetch-Hetchy valley as a reservoir. In 1908 a 295 acre virgin stand of redwoods in Marin County were established as Muir Woods National Monument.

On May 29, 1912 a photograph of Muir in Muir Woods National Monument was taken.

John Muir at Muir Woods National Monument – May 29, 1912

Photo: MAY 29, 1912

John Muir in California

John Muir was born in Dunbar, Scotland in 1838. His family emigrated to the US in 1849 starting a farm in Wisconsin. In 1860 Muir attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison where he took his first botany lesson. To avoid being drafted in the Civil War, he wandered the woods in Wisconsin making his way to Canada where he worked at a sawmill. In 1867 he was still working in lumber in the US when an accident almost blinded him. This changed Muir's outlook on life profoundly : "This affliction has driven me to the sweet fields. God has to nearly kill us sometimes, to teach us lessons." Muir then decided to walk 1,000 miles from Indiana to Florida seeking out the "wildest, leafiest, and least trodden way I could find." 

In 1868 Muir traveled to California immediately seeking out Yosemite valley. He was enthralled with the grandeur of this wilderness which would be his special place on earth for the rest of his life. He became an established figure in the valley and visiting scientists, celebrities and nature enthusiasts sought him out. Muir started reading Ralph Waldo Emerson who wrote about a life where one "returned to Nature." In 1871 the two men met in Yosemite where Emerson offered Muir a professorship at Harvard but Muir thankfully declined preferring "God's big show" to anything cities had to offer.

Muir worked with the associate editor of Century magazine, Robert Underwood Johnson, in conserving Yosemite and establishing a national park along the lines of Yellowstone National Park. In 1890 Yosemite was established as a California State park. In 1892 Muir along with Professor Henry Senger formed a club for mountain lovers, a 'Sierra Club.' In May 1892 the first meeting of the Sierra Club was held to write articles of incorporation. One week later Muir was elected president. In 1903 President Theodore Roosevelt visited Yosemite traveling by stagecoach into the park. Muir and Roosevelt ventured off by themselves and camped in the back country. In 1905 Congress transferred the Mariposa Grove and Yosemite Valley to federal control. In 1912 Muir is a noted and well-respected naturalist and nature activist. He led a loosing battle against the damming of Hetch-Hetchy valley as a reservoir. In 1908 a 295 acre virgin stand of redwoods in Marin County were established as Muir Woods National Monument.

On May 29, 1912 a photograph of Muir in Muir Woods National Monument was taken.

John Muir at Muir Woods National Monument - May 29, 1912
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