The Yosemite Valley Chapel was built in 1879 and is the oldest man-made structure in the park. Designed and built by two San Franciscans, it was erected to remind people that God is even more incredible than his creations, namely the splendor around you. While that may be true, this man-made church pales in comparison to it setting, though it does make for a nice photo in this context.
With Half Dome as its backdrop, the diminutive Yosemite Chapel, constructed the same year as the Wawona Hotel (1879), must have one of the most dramatic locations in Yosemite!
This chapel was once part of Old Yosemite Village, which was located here between 1859-1917. *It was prone to flooding and was colder than the the north side of the valley.
When services were moved to what is now Yosemite Village, many of the original buildings were moved to the Pioneer Yosemite History Center in Wawona.
A fringe of woods surrounds this simple chapel, which continues to hold religious services each week on Thursday evenings at 7pm and Sundays at 9:15am and 11:00 am. (Memorial Day-Labor Day).
I wasn't surprised to read that Yosemite Chapel is a very popular place for weddings year round. The spectacular scenery and history of this area, would certainly attract those looking for a memorable location in which to say their vows!
*This information taken from Roadside Geology of Yosemite Valley by Garry Hayes
Built in 1879, Yosemite Chapel is the oldest building in the Valley. Its wooden structure with distinct steep spire makes a great photo. Today it continues to be occupied and fully functional. Check your Yosemite Today for a schedule of services. I am not religious, but still enjoy hanging around the Chapel to take photos and watch the occasional weddings.
This chapel is the only building remaining of the original Yosemite Village. Before flooding forced the park service to relocate the entire Yosemite Village out of the way of the river, it used to sit along the banks just west of Sentinal Bridge. The chapel has been restored and reparied from flood damage and is still used to religious services. It can make for beautiful photos.