Monday, September 21, 2009

John Muir National Historic Site

Several weeks ago, my friend Dyan and I went and took the tour of the John Muir National Historic Site up in Martinez, CA. John Muir is called the "Father of the National Parks" in that he helped convince Pres. Teddy Roosevelt of their importance of preserving these amazing natural wonders. The site includes the house and part of his fruit orchards and they have a guided tour at 2 pm on Wed-Friday. We had an excellent tour guide- he was so knowledgeable about the house and Muir's life and conveyed the information in a way that was accessible and INTERESTING to everyone. We were sad to learn that he was only there for the summer so we felt lucky to get him.

This was the house that Muir spent most of his adult life- it doesn't look like the home of someone who would have been a preservationist and it is because it was the home of his in-laws. Muir's daughters didn't even want it- they sold it.

This is Muir's study where he wrote most of his books, including his children's story called "Stickeen" about a brave little dog and a glacier.

I of course bought a copy of this book- this version has some beautiful illustrations.

I loved the little greenhouse sitting room off of the dining room

They had some amazing pieces of artwork by Thomas Hill and William Keith throughout the home. I love the piece above the stone fireplace. Muir constructed the fireplace himself so that he could have a "real mountain campfire".

They had a bell tower at the top of the house with beautiful views of the surrounding farms.

There used to be 1,800 acres where Muirs in-laws and then Muir to grow many varieties of fruit: apples, peaches, cherries, almonds, grapes, pears, oranges, lemons, apricots, and figs. The windmill pumped water to irrigate the fields.

And even Nora had a good time as you can see by the smile on her face

1 comment:

Petertammenson said...

John Muir's house?? Lucky! And I love the book - fabulous illustrations!