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John Muir National Historic Site facts for kids

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John Muir National Historic Site
John Muir NHS.jpg
Location 4202 Alhambra Avenue, Martinez, California
Area 345 acres (140 ha)
Built 1849
Architect Wolfe & Son; Martinez, Vicente
Architectural style Italianate-Victorian
Visitation 49,376 (2016)
Website John Muir National Historic Site
NRHP reference No. 66000083
Quick facts for kids
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966
Designated NHL December 29, 1962
Designated NHS August 31, 1964
John Muir House MM 3712
John Muir house, Martinez

The John Muir National Historic Site is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, in Martinez, Contra Costa County, California. It preserves the 14-room Italianate Victorian mansion where the naturalist and writer John Muir lived, as well as a nearby 325-acre (132 ha) tract of native oak woodlands and grasslands historically owned by the Muir family. The main site is on the edge of town, in the shadow of State Route 4, also known as the "John Muir Parkway."

History

Mansion

The mansion was built in 1883 by Dr. John Strentzel, Muir's father-in-law, with whom Muir went into partnership, managing his 2,600-acre (1,100 ha) fruit ranch. Muir and his wife, Louisa, moved into the house in 1890, and he lived there until his death in 1914.

Jomu Martinez, Ca 020419pu
View from south over the house to the orchards in 1900

Alhambra Trestle

In 1897, for the sum of $10, Muir and Louisa ceded a right of way to the San Francisco and San Joaquin Valley Railroad. The document describes the land upon which the Alhambra Trestle is located. The railway was completed in 1900 and used by the Muirs to ship their fruit.

Muir Trestle, Martinez, CA
The 1680-foot-long, 80-foot high steel "Muir Trestle", a.k.a. "Alhambra Trestle", in Martinez, California, owned and operated by the BNSF Railroad. View from Muir Station Road looking toward Alhambra Way.

Preservationist

While living here, Muir realized many of his greatest accomplishments, co-founding and serving as the first president of the Sierra Club, in the wake of his battle to prevent Yosemite National Park's Hetch Hetchy Valley from being dammed, playing a prominent role in the creation of several national parks, writing hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles and several books expounding on the virtues of conservation and the natural world, and laying the foundations for the creation of the National Park Service in 1916.

The home contains Muir's "scribble den," as he called his study, and his original desk, where he wrote about many of the ideas that are the bedrock of the modern conservation movement.

Mount Wanda-John Muir National Historic Site
Hiking trail along Mount Wanda within the Historic Site

Archive and Landmark

California Historical Landmark 312+Muir National Historic Site John Muir home
Farm wagon, John Muir home, Martinez

The Muir house was documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey in 1960.

It became a National Historic Site in 1964, is a California Historical Landmark #312 and National Historic Landmark, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1988 nearby Mount Wanda Nature Preserve (named for one of John Muir's two daughters) was added to the Historic Site.

John Muir National Historic Site

John Muir home California Historical Landmark 312+Muir National Historic Site
John Muir home, Martinez, CA

The John Muir National Historic Site offers a biographical film, tours of the house and nature walks on Mount Wanda.

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