Yosemite National Park, the Fire Fall, Glacier Point, 1947
Western Publishing and Novelty Company of Los Angeles, California issued this 1947 Linen Type postcard of the fire fall at Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. One of the most prominent publishers on the West Coast, photographer and publisher, Stanley A. Piltz used the C.T. Art-Colortone printing method to produce this card. Linen Type postcards, popular from the 1930s to the 1950s, used paper with a high rag content giving the cards a fabric look and feel and with the advanced printing technique allowing the use of brighter colors. This card titled “Yosemite National Park , Fire Fall, Glacier Point” has an informational paragraph on the reverse and is numbered on the front as 328 at the lower left and 36-HI-48 at the lower right.
The card was sent by Axel Schroder to his daughter, Betty, as a birthday wish in 1947
Camp Curry today known as Curry Village is located within Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, in Mariposa County, California. It opened in 1899 as a tented camp owned and operated by David Curry and Jenny Etta Foster (also known as Mother Curry). For $2.00 a day a visitor could get “a good bed and a clean napkin with every meal.” That would equal approximately $57.00 today. In 1970 the name was changed from Camp Curry to Curry Village and it still offers tourist accommodations near Glacier Point. There is a post office (opened 1909), cabins, a store, dining facilities and a lodge. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Some of the older structures still standing include the 1904 Old Registration Office, the 1914 entrance sign, the 1913 dance hall, the 1916 Foster Curry cabin, and the 1917 Mother Curry’s bungalow.
In 1871 before Yosemite became a National Park a small hotel called Glacier Point Mountain House was built at Glacier Point directly above Camp Curry. The Yosemite Fire Fall as shown on the card was an event that began the summer of 1872 and continued every night during the summer for almost 100 years ending in 1968. Burning hot embers were spilled from the top of Glacier Point to the valley 3,000 feet below. Those watching from below saw what appeared to be a glowing waterfall.
There was often a large bonfire at the small hotel on summer evenings. At the conclusion of the evening events the embers and coals from the fire would be kicked over the edge of the cliff causing what came to be called the Fire fall. The people below were so fascinated by the fiery waterfall they paid to have it continued, a practice that was kept until new owners discontinued it in 1897.
After the Curry’s started the tent camp in 1899 they heard tales of the fire falls and decided to reestablish them in the early 1900s. The “Indian Love Call” was sung at Camp Curry as the fire fell. It was described as a sight long to be remembered. The fire fall stopped again during World War II. But by public demand the fire fall was back again after the war ended and continued for another 20 or so years before being discontinued permanently in 1968. It must have been something else to witness; however, the dangerous possibilities of such a fire fall plus more public awareness of environmental issues would make this spectacle unthinkable today.
The stamp is a red, 2-cent Presidential stamp featuring the profile of John Adams
For additional information, see: