New work gives old look to Crater Lake buildings – July 23, 2001

New work gives old look to Crater Lake buildings

Herald and News
Klamath Falls, Oregon
July 23, 2001
CRATER LAKE — New construction at Crater Lake National Park will result in some historic buildings looking appropriately old.

The park’s popular Rim Village area is undergoing a series of transformations this summer in preparation for next year’s 100th anniversary celebration of Crater Lake as a national park.
Four buildings in the Rim Village’s historic district — the Kiser Studio, which serves as a visitor contact station, Community House, Sinnott Memorial and a comfort station — are being stripped back to their foundations and put back together. When the $1.6 million project is completed, probably late this summer or early fall, all four will retain their outward rustic characteristics while being structurally reinforced.

Gina Freel is serving as project supervisor for the Rim Village construction project.


The Kiser Studio was opened in 1921, the Community House in 1926, the Sinnott in 1931 and the comfort station in 1938. All were built within walking distance of the olderCrater Lake Lodge.
“Up until the lodge rehabilitation project, very little work had been done up here,” said John Miele, the park’s management assistant.

“We’re sticking pretty close to the construction schedule,” reported Greg Hartell, project superintendent for Ramsay-Gerding Construction Co. of Corvallis. “We were able to get an early start because of the weather. We hope to beat the snow, of course.”

Hartell, who lives in Klamath Falls and has worked at the park in a variety of capacities for decades, brings a historic perspective to the project.

“I remember in the late ’60s being able to enjoy some of the activities that will be held here,” tells Hartell of interpretive programs historically offered at the Community House, which is perched on a slope that offers a view of the lake. “This is a premier spot to view the lake from.”
Miele also remembers times when the Community House was a center of activity.

“It was built as a social gathering place,” says Miele, who says the building will be used for ranger-led programs when it reopens next summer.

“It’s an appropriate place to have evening programs. This is the place where evening evening programs have been offered historically. People will have a view of the lake.”
Evening programs were offered at the Community House until the early 1980s. For several winters snowshoe programs began at the building, which in other seasons housed a commercial cross country ski business. It has been used closed to the public and used only for storage for about a decade because, according to Miele, “it just wasn’t safe.”

The Community House’s roof has been reinforced with steel beams while large amounts of newly poured concrete will enhance the building’s stability.

Overseeing the day-to-day work is Gina Freel, a Winema National Forest employee who is serving as the National Park Service’s project superintendent.
“The work is moving along on schedule. All of the contractors and sub-contractors are putting a lot of effort into the work,” says Freel, who notes the number of workers ranges from a dozen to 20 a day. “The contractors have laid out the work so that crews can go from building to building.”

Along with work on the four buildings, portions of the promenade, a walkway between the lodge and cafeteria-gift shop, are being relocated. In some sections the low rock wall is being moved slightly away from the rim.
When the work is completed, Freel, Miele and Hartell expect the historical district’s “new look” will capture the mood, and guarantee the future, of another era.

“When the work is done,” believes Hartell, “the buildings should be good for at least another 70 years.”
* * *
Regional Editor Lee Juillerat covers Lake, Siskiyou, Modoc and northern Klamath counties. He can be reached at 885-4421, (800) 275-0982, or by e-mail at

<< previousnext >>