Story by Ralph Harder of Cabin 3A
From the Recollections of Life and Events in Wawona series
Although I am an “Original 73”, I was not part of the core group that formed the Corporation. You, hopefully will hear/have heard from Bob Dunn, Elmer Green, and others still living about that. In fact, for the prior two years I was renting my cabin through the Mays, having become fed up with Dick and Wanda Moore. It is a shame that we have no complete history of the founding of WPMI (Wawona Property Management Incorporated), let alone the history of The Moore’s Redwoods, which preceded it. I’ll provide what I can.
Our logo states: CIRCA 1949. I can’t vouch for that but I know that in the 1950’s there were several cabins surrounding River Road. The Mays had a cafe and gas station (where the Honeymoon Cabin is now), plus their cabins. I visited Wawona twice while working summers for Yosemite Park & Curry Company in the Valley, in the 50’s. Richard (RD) Moore and his wife Jewett ran The Moore’s Redwoods. RD had a contractor’s and a broker’s license. He sold the lots and built the cabins –solid redwood logs—with the help of his son, Jerry. Jewett handled the rental business. In the 50’s and 60’s, allegedly, they were building 20 homes a year and renting most of them out for the owners. The lumber yard and hardware store was where the library is today.
After staying twice in Redwoods cabins, I bought a lot (from RD) in 1968 and started construction (by RD) that year—the second year for frame rather than log construction. All went well until late 70’s (I don’t have the date), when the Moores decided it was time to retire. I am sorry to say, that I was approached by RD, asking me to get a group together to buy him out. He may have approached others. He may have been asking $250,000. I tried several months, unsuccessfully, to interest enough owners to make the purchase. So then our troubles began. He sold his holdings to the National Park Service and took a lease-back. He turned the business over to his other son and daughter-in-law, Dick (Jr.) and Wanda Moore. We soon knew we were in trouble when we learned that Dick Jr.had been working for a bank in Fresno that fired him because of suspected embezzlement. There are many stories of poor management, culminated by theft of our deposits. I became fed up (not even knowing about the theft) and cashed out about two years before the end of “The Moores”. The Mays were easy to work with but weren’t used to working with anything “as big” as my 1500 Sq. ft. 4 bedroom cabin. I was happy to go to WPMI when it was formed.
There is more history that needs to be told…