“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Madera in Madera County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Madera to Yosemite Stage Route

Est 1879

Madera to Yosemite Stage Route Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lester J Letson, December 4, 2010
1. Madera to Yosemite Stage Route Marker
Inscription.  Switching from the iron horse to the horse drawn stage after a night at Madera's Yosemite Hotel, which still stands across the street from this monument, at 6 A. M. the tourists would load up in open stages to enable them a good view. Stagecoaches, by their enclosed design were unpopular. Each trip to Yosemite Valley took 2 or 3 days, depending on the road, road conditions or other delays such as the many stage holdups. One woman from whom 20 dollars was taken said "I wouldn't have missed it for 100."

It took approximately 72 horses for each trip to Yosemite Valley. Each stage line owned about 600 horses and had to provide a stage stop to change horses every 7 or 8 miles. In it's heyday there were many stages lined up in front of the hotel every morning.

In 1886 with the completion of the railroad to Wildcat Station (Raymond) in the foothills and out of the infamous valley mud, the routes busiest days were gone. In 1941 the W.P.A. and the California Public Works completed a then modern highway to Friant. Madera again had a major stage (motorized) line to Yosemite.

Madera - Gateway to Yosemite
Madera to Yosemite Stage route Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lester J Letson, December 4, 2010
2. Madera to Yosemite Stage route Marker
View showing the old wagon wheel in the base of the monument. Behind the monument is a mural of Madera farmland on the side of a building that was once part of the train station that dropped off passengers for the stage route.

Erected 1999 by E Clampus Vitus, Grub Gulch Chapter 41-49.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Railroads & StreetcarsSettlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the E Clampus Vitus series list.
Location. 36° 57.717′ N, 120° 3.586′ W. Marker is in Madera, California, in Madera County. Marker is at the intersection of E Street and Yosemite Avenue, on the right when traveling east on E Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Across from 103 East Yosemite Avenue, Madera CA 93637, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 7 other markers are within 16 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Madera County Library Service (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Madera Zoo (about 700 feet away); Madera (approx. 3.9 miles away); Berenda (approx. 7.4 miles away); Sierra Sky Park (approx. 13 miles away); Forestiere Underground Gardens (approx. 14 miles away); Railroads of Chowchilla (approx. 15.6 miles away).
More about this marker. The marker is granite surrounded by a facade of rocks with half of an old wagon wheel below it.
The monument is located at virtually the beginnings of the town of Madera. The building across the street occupies the first lot purchased when lots for the new town of Madera was drawn up.
Regarding Madera to Yosemite Stage Route. The marker is across the street from Yosemite Furniture which occupies the building that was the first permanent hotel in Madera. Captain R P Mace purchased the very first lot in the newly drawn out town of Madera and
Yosemite Hotel image. Click for full size.
By Lester J Letson
3. Yosemite Hotel
Across from the marker is Yosemite Furniture Gallery which occupies the first permanent structure built in the city of Madera. The Yosemite Hotel was built by Captain R P Mace in 1875. It's strategic location made it the hotel where most travellers disembarking from the nearby train station came to first, and it's name inferred correctly that it was the starting point for the stage to Yosemite.
located his hotel at the corner of Yosemite and E Street. Travellers usually disembarked from the train station located behind the marker and stayed at the local hotels until the stage for Yosemite left, usually early the next morning in front of the Yosemite Hotel.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
Also see . . .  Restored Yosemite Stage. Passangers preferred the open sided Yosemite stages to enclosed stages when taking the site seeing trips to Yosemite. One restorer working on this particuar stage found a small-caliber bullet lodged in a structural frame member. From a possible hold-up? No one is around that can tell us for sure. (Submitted on January 7, 2011, by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California.) 
Additional keywords. Raymond Butterfield R.R. Mace railroad wagon hold-up
Old post card of the Intersection of Yosemite Avenue and E Street in Madera image. Click for full size.
By Unknown, circa abt 1940
4. Old post card of the Intersection of Yosemite Avenue and E Street in Madera
The Yosemite Hotel was still in business as a hotel at this time and the sign is visible in front of the building. The marker is located directly to the left on E Street.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on January 7, 2011, by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California. This page has been viewed 1,190 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 7, 2011, by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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Apr. 2, 2020