On June 30, 1864, Abraham Lincoln — in the midst of the Civil War — signed the Yosemite Land Grant in an effort to protect and preserve one of the nation's most majestic places for future generations.
150 later, U.S. national parks are myriad, but the Yosemite grant marked the first time the nation's government had preserved such a space for public use.
Lincoln's land grant placed both the Mariposa Grove and the Yosemite Valley in the hands of the state of California, providing precedent for the extensive national park system that would later follow. On October 1, 1890, the tracts of land around the two areas became official known as Yosemite National Park. It was combined with the regions Lincoln's grant preserved in 1906.
Around 4 million people visit the national park a year, making for a diverse assortment over its storied history. Ansel Adams, the environmentalist and photographer, dedicated much of his life and career to capturing the splendid beauty of Yosemite. During World War II, what is now the Ahwahnee Hotel in the national park served as a convalescent hospital for the Navy, making it home to sailors and marines as they recovered from their war wounds. And Queen Elizabeth II traveled to visit the famous park in 1983.
Check out a series of classic photos from the awe-inspiring region's 150-year history below.
Tags: CALIFORNIA, NATIONAL PARKS, U.S., US & World, YOSEMITE