The Historic Iron Door Saloon is the oldest continuously operating saloon in California. Located near Yosemite National Park, it was built in the California Gold Country sometime before 1852. It was first called the "Granite Store", perhaps because the front and back walls are made of solid granite blocks. The sidewalls are made of "shist" rock and mortar and the roof consists of three feet of sod, covered by tin.
James Tannahill was the first owner of the store that would become the Iron Door Saloon and served the Groveland community as the first Postmaster from 1863 to 1880, running the post office in the store.
The establishment became a saloon in 1896 when it was purchased by Giacomo DeFarrari and was named "Jake's Place."
In 1937 a second story was added and cards, billiards and pool were offered for an evenings diversion. The establishment was renamed "The Iron Door Saloon" after the hefty iron doors which had been hauled in on mule back across the Tuolumne River by way of Wards Ferry. These iron doors were manufactured in England and brought around the tip of South America by sailing ship and sold to the saloon as a fire protection device. The idea was that if the town was burning, you just shut the doors and waited it out.
The iron doors on the front of the saloon today are the same ones originally fitted. Inside, you will be treated to a page from history. In addition to some stray bullet holes, you'll find the finest looking back bar in the Yosemite area, historic pictures of Hetch Hetchy in pre-O'Shaughnessy Dam days, and many antique gold mining, timber and farm implements of the old West.
You'll also see historic pictures of John Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club, and spectacular scenery of Yosemite Valley. There is a tribute to Black Bart, the famous "Gentleman Stage Coach Robber", and a natural history museum of indigenous animal species of the Sierra Nevada and their status in the wild.
The Iron Door Saloon receives guests from all over the world, passing through on their way to Yosemite National Park. Children are welcome to peruse the unique collection of artifacts.