Ahwahnee Ca History & Information
Ahwahnee California is a small unincorporated rural town in Eastern Madera County located on California Highway 49 just North of Oakhurst California. Ahwahnee is at the southern end of the Gold Country Highway 49. Ahwahnee was populated by immigrants largely due to the Gold Rush and supporting local miners with goods and services.
The Raymond Railroad from 1883-1891 stopped in Ahwahnee and President Theodore Roosevelt visited Ahwahnee en route to Yosemite National Park.
Ahwahnee also used to have a tuberculosis sanitarium built in the early 1900’s for tuberculosis victims. The sanitarium then became a boys home, later being closed down in the 1980’s. The site is now the new Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park.
Ahwahnee’s name derives from the Yosemite Indian Tribe. The Ahwahneechee called Yosemite Valley Ahwahnee, and they were the people of Ahwahnee or Ahwahneechee. Ahwahnee is their term for "mouth" and Yosemite Valley resembles a huge mouth. The Ahwahneechee tribe was an independent Indian tribe that famously lived in Yosemite where an historic village exists today.
Ahwahnee the town was allegedly once called Wassama as well.
The Wassama Roundhouse is a local Historic Ceremonial Miwok site located at the Wassama Round House State Historic Park in Ahwahnee. The Roundhouse is a wonderful ceremonial structure still in use today, one of the few left in California.
The Roundhouse Park is operated by the Wassama Association under the supervision of local Miwok Tribal members under the auspices of the State Parks System. Tribal ceremonies are traditionally held at harvests, births and for mourning ceremonies. Special events and tours are available but ceremonies are strictly for Tribal Members. The Indian Gathering Day including cultural dance demonstrations, crafts and basket weaving is held the second Saturday in July annually and is open to the public.
More Information is available from the Wassama Roundhouse Association, P O Box 328, Ahwahnee CA 93601, (559) 683-8194.