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These vintage photos of Yosemite National Park are incredibly cool

Happy birthday, Yosemite!

A Yosemite Park stagecoach with Bridalveil Fall in background. This is from the early 1900s.
A Yosemite Park stagecoach with Bridalveil Fall in background. This is from the early 1900s. (Getty Images)

This month marks Yosemite National Park’s 130th birthday -- which was Thursday, Oct. 1, really -- so we thought we’d celebrate by sharing some old photos of the California hotspot.

Yes, Yosemite National Park was designated by an Act of Congress on Oct. 1, 1890, making it the third national park in the United States, after Yellowstone (which happened in 1872) and Sequoia (1890).

We found this bit of history on the National Park Service’s website:

“Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias have (actually) been preserved since 1864. Congress passed a bill, which was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on June 30, 1864, that set aside Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove, that stated the lands be held ' … for public use, resort, and recreation … inalienable for all time.' This was truly the birth of the national park concept, since this was the first time in history that land was set aside purely for preservation and recreation for all people.”

Here are those photos:

A decal for the Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park, California, from 1955.
A decal for the Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park, California, from 1955. (Getty Images)
The North Dome and Washington Tower, Yosemite, California, 1890.
The North Dome and Washington Tower, Yosemite, California, 1890. (Getty Images)
Some scenery along the Merced River, in the Yosemite Valley, California, mid-1870s. The mountain in the center right is known as Half Dome.
Some scenery along the Merced River, in the Yosemite Valley, California, mid-1870s. The mountain in the center right is known as Half Dome. (Thomas Houseworth & Co./George Eastman House/Getty Images)
William Henry Jackson, photographing Yosemite Falls from Glacier Point.
William Henry Jackson, photographing Yosemite Falls from Glacier Point. (Getty Images)
Theodore Roosevelt, at left, the 26th president of the United States, with the Scottish-born American conservationist John Muir on Glacier Point in Yosemite, California.
Theodore Roosevelt, at left, the 26th president of the United States, with the Scottish-born American conservationist John Muir on Glacier Point in Yosemite, California. (Getty Images)
A vintage illustration of "Greetings from Yosemite National Park, California" -- a large letter vintage postcard from the 1930s.
A vintage illustration of "Greetings from Yosemite National Park, California" -- a large letter vintage postcard from the 1930s. (Corbis via Getty Images)
A convertible emerges from a tunnel cut through the vast trunk of an old tree, at Mariposa Grove in California in 1935.
A convertible emerges from a tunnel cut through the vast trunk of an old tree, at Mariposa Grove in California in 1935. (Corbis via Getty Images)
The Glacier Point Yosemite Valley in California, circa 1890.

Photo by John Lawson Stoddard/Voyageur and conferencier publication Education for Chicago.
The Glacier Point Yosemite Valley in California, circa 1890. Photo by John Lawson Stoddard/Voyageur and conferencier publication Education for Chicago. (Getty Images)
A Yosemite Valley drawing from the book "Currier and Ive's America," Crown Publisher NY, 1952.
A Yosemite Valley drawing from the book "Currier and Ive's America," Crown Publisher NY, 1952. (Getty Images)
A room with a wonderful view over the Yosemite Waterfalls at the Yosemite National Park in California. This was taken at the Ahwahnee Hotel around the year 1935.
A room with a wonderful view over the Yosemite Waterfalls at the Yosemite National Park in California. This was taken at the Ahwahnee Hotel around the year 1935. (Getty Images)
A shot in Yosemite National Forest from 1950.
A shot in Yosemite National Forest from 1950. (Getty Images)
The Half Dome in Yosemite Valley, a glacial gorge about 7 miles long and 1 mile wide running through Yosemite National Park in California.
The Half Dome in Yosemite Valley, a glacial gorge about 7 miles long and 1 mile wide running through Yosemite National Park in California. (Getty Images)
A Yosemite winter valley floor landscape photo.
A Yosemite winter valley floor landscape photo. (Getty Images)
A pretty landscape with trees and snowy branches in Yosemite, California in April 1933.
A pretty landscape with trees and snowy branches in Yosemite, California in April 1933. (Ansel Adams/National Park Service/Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

Yosemite National Park brings in about 4 million visitors a year, according to the NPS.

It’s famous for its waterfalls, as Yosemite Falls is the tallest in North America; granite domes, meadows and spectacular high country lakes. If you’ve never been, it should go on your bucket list -- especially considering the rich history.

Happy October birthday, Yosemite!


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