Explore the history of Yosemite Mountain and the surrounding area of Eastern Madera County. The Thornberry Museum contains actual pieces used by logging crews that worked the region more than 100 years ago. You will see everything from small hand-tools to large mechanical elements that are surprisingly complex for the wilderness, especially when viewed through the context that they were built in the forest around the turn of the century. See the way of life for some of the first inhabitants of the region with artifacts and historic photographs.
Gold miners also came to the area during the gold rush. Experience firsthand the methods they used hoping to strike it rich as you are taught the gold panning methods and find real gold!
Then tour through the Sierra National Forest, which was once logged by those lumberjacks, aboard a nearly century old Shay Locomotive aboard the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Rail Road. Hear the whistle blow as you ride the rails aboard this authentic Shay locomotive. At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, the Sierra Nevada were the site of massive logging operations that all but clear cut the forest. Trains were an important process of taking mean and equipment to the lumber yards, and transporting the lumber.
Now, thanks to more environmentally sound policies the forest has regrown. But you can learn what life was like at the turn of the century at the Thornberry Museum. Inside you'll find genuine turn of the century artifacts, photos and more, detailing the daily struggles these hearty people endured. You can also pan for gold, and ride The Logger, a genuine, Shay locomotive that once rain the same lines nearly 100 years ago.