Mammoth Grove Hotel J. L. Sperry, Manager. Big Trees, Calaveras Co., Cal., MAMMOTH GROVE HOTEL.

Mammoth Grove Hotel J. L. Sperry, Manager. Big Trees, Calaveras Co., Cal., N.p., n.d. Letter sheet, 26x41.5 cm, folded to make four pages. text on pages [3-4] printed in double columns, illustration on page [1]. A later example (circa late 1880s or 1890s) of a letter sheet first produced by Sperry and Perry around 1866. Pages [3-4] comprise "Description of the Mammoth and South Park Groves." Text commences: "The Mammoth Grove is situated in a small valley, near the head waters of the San / Antonio, one of the largest streams in Central Calaveras, California ..." and concludes, "A charming day, never to be for- / gotten, was followed by a soft moonlight, which, as seen from the Hotel, amidst the / Calaveras or Home Grove, was indescribably grand." The text is slightly revised and a five-paragraph description of the South Grove, credited to Nelson's Atlantic and Pacific Tourists' Guide, has been added. Issued after 1877. The illustration, depicting the hotel framed by giant sequoias (engraved from a photograph taken by J. C. Scripture), is identical to the view on page 218 of Hutchings' In the Heart of the Sierras (1886). In the fall of 1858, James L. Sperry and John Perry, popular and successful hotel men from the town of Murphys, along with a third partner, Smith Mitchell, began to buy up and otherwise take control of the Calaveras big tree property. Starting in 1859 Sperry and Perry managed the Mammoth Grove Hotel. In 1860, they began to buy out Mitchell and soon became the sole owners of the property. The partners improved and enlarged the hotel so that about 1867 it could accommodate seventy-five guests. These improvements made it one of the largest, as well as one of the most famous, resort hotels in California. Perry died suddenly in 1874 and Sperry entered into an unfortunate partnership, which subsequently was dissolved by a suit brought by Sperry against his new partners (Eugene Elias Malbec de Montjoc, the Marquis de Briges, and his wife, the Marchioness Marie Rosario Barsena). In the summer of 1878, Sperry became sole owner of the big trees property. Public interest in the Calaveras Grove, and along with it Sperry's Mammoth Grove Hotel, began a slow decline during the 1880s and 1890s. In April 1900, after a lengthy unsuccessful effort to sell his holding to the federal government, Sperry sold the big trees property to Robert P. Whiteside, a Michigan timber speculator. James Mason Hutchings leased the hotel between 1900 and 1902, after which the Whiteside family managed the property until it became a California state park in 1931. Currey and Kruska 245. A fine copy. (#166147).

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