Clarence & The Little Wawona Wagon.

Historic Wawona, a Boy, and a Wagon $22.50

8 September 2015, Columbia, California

Clarence Washburn was the last private owner of the Wawona Hotel in Yosemite National Park, a favorite resort of Yosemite visitors for nearly a century and a half, but first he was a little boy. Clarence and the Little Wawona Wagon depicts a fictionalized year in the life of five-year-old Clarence leading to him receiving a small wooden wagon as a gift, a dear little artifact Clarence Washburn would cherish all his life. The reader is treated to Yosemite historical facts interwoven with a little boy's heart-warming odyssey toward the responsibilities of manhood.

What makes a great man? Is it inherited characteristics or abilities, life's experiences or environmental factors, or the responses of a person to all these? In the case of Clarence Washburn, it was "all of the above." This story allows the reader to spend some time with Clarence and his family for an insightful tour of an extraordinary little boy's life in Yosemite and San Francisco.

The central focus of the story is a small wooden wagon built for Clarence about 1891 by Joel Beauregard Ashworth, expert wagon builder for the Yosemite Stage and Turnpike Company. A number of notable and interesting historic characters interacted with Clarence including his famous artist grandfather, Thomas Hill.

Author and retired teacher, Danette Oydegaard, became the owner of Clarence's little Wawona wagon after it was willed to her by Clarence's daughter, Wawona Washburn Hartwig. Danette very much enjoyed listening to Mrs. Hartwig's wonderful stories of her father, his wagon, and life in Wawona and often recounted those stories for visiting friends as they viewed Clarence's little wagon displayed at the Oydegaard's home in California's foothills.

Finally, Danette's husband, Floyd, was adamant, "You have to write the story of the wagon. Wawona shared her family's history with you out of respect for what you did to share history with your students. She knew you would continue to share the stories. You have to do it as a book, for Wawona."

Thanks to Floyd's encouragement, the story of Clarence and his wagon now lives on the printed page.

Clarence's wagon is displayed in Danette's shop, Artificers' Exchange, in Columbia State Historic Park for all to see when they visit.

Floyd Oydegaard

This page is created for the benefit of the public by
Columbia Booksellers & Stationers
22725 Main Street
Columbia California 95310-9401