CAPTION: Participating in the ceremonial ribbon-cutting of the Mineral King Room on Sunday, Jan. 24, were (from left to right): Robert Hicks, former Mineral King manager for the Disney Company; Jim Barton, whose great-grandfather built the first cabin in Mineral King in 1873; Tom Marshall (back), president of the Three Rivers Historical Society; Kuyler Crocker, District 1 supervisor; Louise Jackson, MKPS/Mineral King Room coordinator; and Jim Ingram, MKPS vice president.
Last Sunday, Jan. 22, the Mineral King Preservation Society and the Three Rivers Historical Society, along with a throng of celebrants, cut the ceremonial ribbon officially opening the Mineral King Room. The MK Room, now the home for archives and artifacts that were donated to and collected by MKPS since its inception in 1986, became recently a joint undertaking of MKPS and the local Historical Society.
Key members of both historical groups were joined for the ribbon cutting by Kuyler Crocker, District 1 supervisor, and Bob Hicks, a former agent for Walt Disney, who donated his personal archives detailing the Disney Company’s unsuccessful efforts (1965-1978) to transform Mineral King from a national forest game preserve to world-class ski resort.
Louise Jackson of Three Rivers, a Crowley cabin descendant and among the founding members of MKPS, said it has been her dream for the past 16 years to see the MK Room become a reality in Three Rivers.
“Creating a place where the public could learn about the colorful history of Mineral King was a big part of why I moved to Three Rivers,” Jackson explained.
Jackson, who more than any individual is responsible for the getting the MK Room opened, said she could not have done it without the help of Tom Marshall and his vision as the president of TRHS.
Louise’s brother, Bruce Jackson, who donated the cost of the construction ($130,000), and a host of others who earmarked funds and labor for the building of the MK Room, were instrumental in the Three Rivers museum’s annex becoming a reality.
In October 2015, construction was started by Pete Crandall, general contractor; it was completed in the fall of 2016. Donations by Hicks and many others will make it possible to maintain the 768-square-foot room and also the rest of the MKPS collection, which is housed on the Three Rivers site in a climate-controlled Seatrain storage unit.
MKPS artifacts and archives— Ora Kay Peterson, who was a founder in 1986 and executive director of MKPS until her death in 2010, realized the importance of collecting artifacts and archives while sharing the history of Mineral King with the public. In 1987, a MKPS display of some of its earliest museum-quality pieces became part of a display that for many years was housed in the Mineral King Ranger Station.
In the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, MKPS gathered historical information relating to Mineral King and assisted the National Park Service in finding a way to preserve the cabin community and the district’s cultural resources. That landmark research and grassroots movement culminated in 2003 with the official National Register of Historic Places designation of the Mineral King Road Cultural Landscape.
The Mineral King Room will feature rotating displays that will highlight items from the MKPS collection that will help the public and especially those whose lives have been touched by this magical place to better understand the remarkable history and its preservation.
“The Room is open now, although at times I seriously wondered if this project would ever get to this point,” said Louise. “For me, it is truly a labor of love, and this opening is only the beginning. There is so much more than needs to be done.”
The Mineral King Room is located at the Three Rivers Historical Museum, 42268 Sierra Drive. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and admission is free.