Special Merit Classification IV

Grant Grove Lodge cabin

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Grant Grove Village

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Grant Grove Lodge (Cabins) Kings Canyon NP, circa 1923
Classification IV
Location:
Near General Grant Grove, Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP
Theme: National Park Rustic, some modern influences depending on construction date. Cabins and service buildings.
Architect: Various; some by Branch of Plans and Design
Contractor: Various; most 1936 era projects built by CCC
Interior Design: Rustic
Exterior Features: Wood shingles, horizontal wood siding, plywood; varies by structure.
Known Timeline:
Some buildings constructed, 1923
Grant Grove Lodge Bath House, 1925
Horse Barn designed and built, 1935
Major construction projects including residences, 1936
Service Station constructed by Standard Oil Co., 1936
Generator Building constructed, 1940
Comfort Station built in plaza, 1940
Lodge building burned, 1993
Showers added to Bath House, 1993
Current occupancy: 50 units

Observations

Grant Grove Lodge is a collection of rustic cabins in the Grant Grove Village complex in Kings Canyon National Park. It is both significant and historic, an important chapter in the Kings Canyon story.

The "lodge" at Grant Grove can be traced to the earliest encampments of the 1890s, when park visitors slept among the sequoias. Early concessioners offered a mix of tents, canvas cabins, and even charged rent for blankets and primitive open air bedding on the ground. This evolved into a sprawling complex of lodges, wood cabins, and a huge number of tent cabins spread between the Grant Grove and the site of today's village. As naturalists began to recognize the pressures that on-site lodging was putting on the sequoia ecosystem, the National Park Service began to remove structures from the Grant Grove proper. Today only the original Gamlin Cabin remains of the historic buildings in the confines of the Grove. Grant Grove Village

Above, the village plaza in the 1940s. Cars are lined up at the Standard Oil station, which is in shade and difficult to see in this photo.

The Grant Grove Lodge offerings that remain today run the gamut from primitive canvas tent-cabins to fully modernized cabins with baths. Some are log style structures that date from at least the early 1920s; some are wood sided cabins that reflect the more modern design influences of the 1940s. Virtually all of the canvas cabins trace their lineage to the late 19th or early 20th centuries. While these are indeed the most historic, they are also the most nondescript.

Grant Grove Village

Close-up on the same photo; this building is no longer a coffee shop but the front elevation looks very much the same.

Top billing in the complex are the eight wood-shingled duplex cabins. These adjoining structures are carpeted and have private baths, plus heat and electrical service. Daily housekeeping and a few other comforts make these the cream of the crop; they're also the most expensive. The decor is a mish-mash Mission style, to complement the early 20th century construction. One additional log cabin at this level of price and features stands alone; it's known as "The Honeymoon Cabin" and is regarded as the most charming of the bunch.

Second tier cabins at Grant Grove are the two dozen "rustic" or "camp" cabins. These come in a variety of size and bedding combinations, and although they too are carpeted and have electricity, guests must use the 1925 bath house. These are priced accordingly lower, and with their more rustic and individual isolation are generally the first to sell out.

Last but not least are the canvas cabins; there are 17 of these out of what once numbered in the hundreds. Although primitive and with no electricity, the cozy beds and cool night air combine for fabulous sleeping conditions.

The Experience

A Rustic Night in the Forest

Like the John Muir Lodge, check-in for the Grant Grove Lodge is done at a gift counter adjacent to the cafe. An evening around and in the cabins is sensational, if you can accept the lower level of comfort they provide.

Classification

Special Merit Classification IV

The cabins at Grant Grove Lodge provide design, decor, ambiance and historic value that will enhance a visit to Kings Canyon National Park. With the cautionary statement that they may not be suitable for guests who expect certain comforts and amenities, the cabins are classified in the fourth tier by the National Park Lodge Architecture Society.



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Grant Grove Village

Random foliage

Grant Grove Village is a series of historic buildings and cabins and the new John Muir Lodge. Home to a small NPS Vistors Center, cafe, gift shop, US Post Office, and general store, it is also the location of the "front desk" for the cabins. The buildings are quaint parkitecture; they seem to fit perfectly in the forested surroundings. It's worth spending some time here if nothing other than to gain a better understanding of how the NPS views the role of "civilization" within the confines of a protected park.



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