Half Dome - Yosemite National Park, California

Ed Moore

Mission Viejo, United States

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Artist's Description

Rising 4,733 feet above the floor of Yosemite National Park in California, and 8,842 feet above sea level, Half Dome is one of the most recognizable chunks of granite rock in the world. It was carved by glaciers, but the upper 700-foot portion of Half Dome was high enough that it was never covered by the ice.

American Indians who lived in the valley called Half Dome “Tis-sa-ack," – the name of an Indian woman who had argued with her husband, Nangus, and had been turned to stone, according to legend. Looking closely at the flat face of the great dome, one, with imagination, can see Tis-sa-ack’s face, the tears of anguish streaming down her face. It’s thought that “Tis-sa-ack” means “Goddess of the Valley.”

White people “discovered” Yosemite on March 25, 1851 by the U.S. Army. An army surgeon suggested naming the valley “Yo-sem-i-ty” to perpetuate the name of the Indians they were trying to capture. A few of the men rebelled at naming anything after the “treacherous savages.” Several of the men who began to realize the beauty of the place suggested “Paradise Valley” for its name. Bunnell asked for a vote and the name “Yosemity” was adopted, which today is spelled “Yosemite.”

This name was never used by the local Indians for this valley. The name “Ahwahnee” was generally applied to most of the valley, although it is believed that it was applied at first only to the large meadow in the east end of the valley. This name is translated as meaning “deep grassy valley,” although the Army was never quite sure if it was correct.

Artwork Comments

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