Current Priest Station
The original Priest’s Station burned down twice and was rebuilt – the most recent rebuilding consisting of a café,
store, and rental cabins.
I’ve used the foregoing photos and descriptions to set the stage for my great grandfather’s
accounting of his and his companions’ experiences along the trail to Yo-Semite. Here, then, is an entry from his journal regarding Rattlesnake Hill and Priest’s Station in late May of 1874:
“Crossed the Tuolumne (River) at 9PM. (on Hoswell’s Ferry). Arrived at the foot of Rattlesnake Hill
(Old Priest Grade) at 10PM. Then it was our turn to walk. (horses had enough trouble pulling an empty coach up the steep grade – especially during the heat of the day. Lucky for great grandfather they
were climbing the grade at night when it was cooler.)
Just think of a hill two miles long and rising 1700 feet. We all got
out to walk but Sutton who was the smallest of the party. Up, up, up we went and I thought we had walked five miles when Chase (their guide and driver) said "This is halfway." Oh goodness. Only a mile,
and up, up another. Then we began to change riding as some had done the first quarter mile. Around and around, thinking every turn would be the last. Coats and hats off, and 11PM. By this time, we had all climbed in the carriage.
Finally, we heard the bark of a dog, knowing a house was near. In a few minutes we reached Priest's, the best place and table in the
whole land, and a pretty girl to attend to the table. They were all snug in bed, but when we called they got up, and in 20 minutes, had a steaming hot dinner of fricasseed chicken, fried ham, beefsteak, good coffee and tea and milk, pie and cake and
strawberries. Such a luscious supper! May Priest's shadow never grow less!
We enjoyed our supper and did not tarry
long before retiring where we had good beds and slept sounder than ever. In the morning, Saturday the 23rd, the sun was shining beautifully and when I got up and went down, I saw we were really above the clouds and to look down that awful long hill I
could only laugh and think we would have the best of Old Hill when we returned. Sure did!”