30 3. An Act Accepting Certain Tracts of Land in the City of Medford

Crater Lake National Park: Administrative History by Harlan D. Unrau and Stephen Mark, 1987


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CHAPTER NINE: Legislation Relating to Crater Lake National Park: 1916-Present


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3. An Act Accepting Certain Tracts of Land in the City of Medford, Jackson County, Oregon (43 Stat. 606–June 7, 1924)

From the inception of the park its superintendents had established their winter quarters and offices outside the park. This was due to the annual heavy snowfalls which made the park largely inaccessible from mid-autumn to late spring. By 1924 the open season for the park was from July 1 to September 30, during which time the superintendent established summer headquarters in the park. During the remainder of the year the park office was located in one room of the Federal Building in Medford. The superintendent rented living quarters in the town, and all park motor vehicles and road-building machinery was stored in the open on private land, the use of which had been granted by the public-spirited owners. [7]

During 1923 negotiations between Park Service officials and Medford town leaders resulted in the offer of three lots in fee simple as sites for buildings to be used for park administrative purposes. After the National Park Service indicated interest the Medford City Council passed an ordinance tendering to the United States the three lots on a tax and assessment free basis. It was contemplated that a warehouse and a combined residence and office for the park superintendent would be built on the lots. [8]

To enable the federal government to accept these lots Senator Irvine L. Lenroot of Wisconsin, who was chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Lands and Surveys, introduced legislation (S. 1987) on January 15, 1924. The bill read:

That the Secretary of the Interior be, and he is hereby, authorized to accept certain tracts of land in the city of Medford, Jackson County, Oregon, described as lots numbered 15 and 16, block 9, amended plat to Queen Ann Addition to the city of Medford: and lot 3, block 2, central subdivision to the city of Medford, which have been tendered to the United States of America in fee simple by the city of Medford, Oregon, as sites for buildings to be used in connection with the administration of Crater Lake National Park, Oregon. [9]

In response to a request by Lenroot, Secretary of the Interior Hubert Work submitted the department’s recommendation for passage on January 31, 1924. The report read in part:

A warehouse at this location will afford an opportunity to put under cover and distribute from a central point supplies and equipment which may be purchased to better advantage during the winter and also to condition motor and other equipment so that the working forces of the park may be able to function immediately upon the opening date without having to carry on repair work at the same time.

In other national parks the superintendents are furnished and are able to spend the entire year within the park area. The superintendent of Crater Lake National Park, however, who receives a salary less than that of any other superintendent of a major park of the West, is obliged to provide a residence for his occupation during the closed season of the park. Experience has shown that it is difficult to find a suitable residence which may be leased at a reasonable cost for part of the year only. [10]

The bill encountered little opposition in Congress. It was reported favorably without amendment by the Senate Committee on Public Lands and Surveys on May 12, 1924, and passed the Senate ten days later. On May 24 the bill was referred to the House Committee on Public Lands, which reported it favorably without amendment on June 5.[11] The bill was approved by the House on June 7 and signed into law (43 Stat. 606) by President Calvin Coolidge that same day. [12]

After the enactment of the law proceedings were initiated for the formal conveyance of the two lots to the federal government. Accordingly, the two lots, comprising 0.13 and 0.28 acres respectively, were acquired and added to the park holdings on September 1, 1924. [13]