From the Recollections of Life and Events in Wawona series

By Kathie Dunn, Cabin 20B (We-Dunn-It)


I remember checking in with the Moore’s at their home down by the river. I remember when building our home that we opted to be our own general contractors (hence the name We-Dunn-It) as the Moores at the time: a) were the local general contractors, b) owned the lumber yard (where the library is now) and c) owned the concession where your home would be rented through. I also seem to remember that they were responsible for a great deal of the real estate sales in the area.

The “Bs” are all in an area that they sold the land for – this was land that had been owned by the Bruce/Washburn families. Their original homestead was up on Upper Chilnualna loop and the stones from the foundation in front of their home can still be seen today, although a driveway cutting through it did substantial damage to them. The original log flume for floating the logs used to build the Wawona Hotel cuts across the back of the properties of the “Bs” on the upper side and can still be seen (it’s just a ditch mostly filled in with leaves and needles now).

The restaurant was originally run by the Moores and the name was “Redwoods de Cuisine.” We always laughed because that essentially meant trees as food rather than Food of the Redwoods.

Then, when they were bought out by all of us, the restaurant was run by Erna. She lived across the creek at the time. She is now down in Oakhurst and runs the famous Elderberry. When she left, the Park Service (at the behest of MCI/YP&C at the time) wouldn’t allow the restaurant concession to continue. The frost shop was part and parcel of that.

The garbage “truck” was an old panel truck that Mike originally placed mattress springs on top of to keep the bears out. That graduated to some sort of hinged screen – but that still didn’t keep the bears out. It used to be parked in the small meadow by our home and provided hours of night time entertainment for children using flashlights from the windows.

And then, there was the most famous Wawona bear of all – Rusty. He lived there for years – and was actually a rust colored brown bear – as opposed to the regular black color that the “brown” bears are found in. Other than raiding garbage cans, he was never a real nuisance to anyone and every time the rangers got a bee in their bonnet about removing bears, the locals would always band together to get them to leave him alone. He was also smart enough to always evade their traps.

However, finally, the rangers decided all bears had to leave Wawona. Since he couldn’t be trapped, they went after him with a dart gun. Unfortunately, once darted, he ran up a tree (near our home) and when the dart fully took effect, he fell out of the tree and died. Made many of us very angry and sad … he never bothered anyone. I do have a picture of him at the Samuels place.

Of course, I also remember not having to go on guided “dude” rides at the stables – when you could actually rent horses and go on your own. I remember distinctly being quite insulted that because I was a child, they gave me a pony to ride along with my parents – when I was already riding 17+ hand horses at home.


Read more stories from “Recollections of Life and Events in Wawona” stories