The History of
TOM’S PLACE RESORT
Cabins, Lodge, General Store, Cafe & Bar
Tom’s Place was orginally built in 1917 by a German
man named Hans Lof. It all started with a much
needed gas station to fuel the traffic moving up from Southern California. Lof built a cookhouse, added a store and corrals, then started packing people into
the mountains for a wilderness getaway.
In 1923, Thomas Jeffrson Yerby and his wife, Hazel
(stage actress, Jane Grey) purchased the business for
$5,000 and Tom build the original Tom’s Place Lodge in 1924.
People really started getting into the fishing here in the mid 20’s, and there was a lot of traffic to Yosemite. People would come and camp for a month at a time at what is now called French Camp. By the late 1920’s many cabins had been added, first as tent structures, then permanent ones, many still in use today.
Hazel did a lot of cooking for the lodge, and then, after prohibition, they put a saloon in across the street. She wouldn’t let the saloon be on the same side of the street as the lodge and cafe. There were all kinds of things going on around this time. Rock Creek Lodge was being built, as well as Rock Creek Lakes Resort. The Crowley Dam was built in the mid-30’s. Tom’s Place survived two world wars and the Great Depression.
After Tom died in 1940, Hazel ran Tom’s Place until 1945, and then sold
it for $80,000. By now, the highway was paved. The original lodge
burned down in 1947, and was replaced by the building that you now see.
The Ted Berner family took over and ran the lodge until 1954, and moved
the saloon into the interior of the building, where it is still located.
In 1985, the Berner family sold to a group of invesotrs, Tomco, Inc,
who managed it off-site and kept the off-season to a minimum.
Mark and Michelle Layne, and their son, Charlie, purchased the property
infrastructure from Tomco in January 2000.
The Layne’s are always renovating some part of the resort, making some
needed improvements, but they pretty much want the place to remain its
original ambiance. History is priceless!