Wednesday, July 14, 1915— The Mather Mountain Party, as it afterwards came to be known, gathered for the first time on the warm summer evening of July 14, 1915, in Visalia, California. Individual members had been trickling in for several days by automobile as well as the private railway car of E.O. McCormick. Now the group was comfortably established at the Palace Hotel on Main Street… It was here, at the Palace Hotel, that a dinner party was held… —an excerpt from The Mather Mountain Party of 1915
Tuesday, July 14, 2015— One hundred years later to the day, the Mather Mountain Party would be pleased to know that their efforts toward preserving the country’s national parks “for the benefit and enjoyment of the whole people” were remembered and celebrated.
Sequoia Natural History Association,with the support of several sponsors, held an invitation-only event at The Lunch Box Catering Company, formerly the Palace Hotel, on the northeast corner of Main and Court streets in Visalia. The modern-day gathering was to commemorate the kick-off dinner that, in 1915, was hosted by George Stewart, Visalia Weekly Delta editor who led the campaign more than 25 years previously to create Sequoia and General Grant national parks; Ben Maddox, owner and publisher of the Visalia Daily Times; and other Visalia businessmen.
After breakfast on July 15, 1915, these men, more than two dozen in number, headed for Sequoia National Park where they would embark on a two-week trans-Sierra pack trip that would result in the creation of the National Park Service in 1916.