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Smith Brothers' Chronological History of Crater Lake National Park




Crater Lake Lodge




Construction begins on a $7.5 million, 35,000 square foot Lodge employee dorm to be located across the South road from Mazama Campground, near the sewer lagoons. Will be built in three units. Since the Park wants to maintain control over the building, the dorm is being financed with Federal money. Will be completed in 1998.



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The proposed total Rim Development with day lodge, visitor center, parking garage and overnight accommodations declared dead, or at least “30 years distant.” The costs had ballooned to $64 million. A more modest plan is proposed to rehabilitate the Sinnott Overlook, the Kaiser Studio and the Stone Comfort Station. The wooden 1921 Community Building is slated to be torn down because of having “no significant historic or cultural value.”

September 11

Lodge employee, Kristen Gehling, 20, falls to her death on Mt. Thielsen. An Oregon National Guard helicopter flew in from Salem with special night-vision goggles and located the body at 2:55 a.m. in hazardous terrain and held off moving Gehling until after daylight.



June 28

A three year-old boy falls three stories from Room 301 and lands in a newly planted bush between the Lodge and the caldera wall. Rescued by doctor father and airlifted out by helicopter. Was unhurt. The boy had leaned against an unhooked window screen while sitting on the window box.

September 24

An Aerospatiale AS 350 helicopter from Seattle, (heading for Las Vegas) crashes and sinks in 1,500 feet of water between Wizard Island and the Lodge. Several dozen Park visitors watched while the helicopter skimmed over the smooth surface of the Lake and then suddenly plunged into the deep water. Speculation is that the pilot, George W. Causey, 52, of Enumclaw, WA, became confused by the near perfect reflection as he flew toward the Lake reflection thinking it was the sky. There was no indication of engine problems. Killed, along with the pilot. was passenger Edward O. Tulleners of West Linn, on his 45th birthday. The helicopter was a seven passenger Eurocopter, built by the World’s largest manufacturer of civil helicopters. Little was recovered except for some shreds of the rotors and a seat cushion. In June, 1996, Park Superintendent Al Hendricks was quoted as saying, “The technology is there to proceed with recover. What we are struggling with is whether it’s worth it. Both families decided the bottom of Crater Lake would be a pretty good place (for the crash victims) to spend eternity.”



April 22

The Oregonian reports that the NPS has decided against any further development at Rim Village. This means that the new, year-round lodge will be built instead seven miles down at Mazama Village. The National Parks and Conservation Association said of the development plan, “You’ve got a few hundred people able to stay in luxury rooms in a hotel, but a few thousand people outside looking at the hotel, which isn’t exactly what a national park is set up for.”




Contract for phase two of the Lodge reconstruction project is awarded to a Portland Company for a bid of $8.9 million. The new lodge will have 71 rooms when completed. Each room will be enlarged over the old ones. The project should take two to three years. Landscaping and outside restoration will be a third phase. The Park Service is still “studying” the erosion problem behind the Lodge. One scientist says the slippage is great, while two others colleges say the rate of sliding is virtually nonexistent...”at least during the life of the new lodge.”


Crater Lake Lodge Company begins an employee policy of random drug testing. One employee, Matt Rubsam, 20, is quoted as saying, “With something like the boat tour, it’s practical, but standing around bored behind a cash register? Come on!”

August 26

The Grants Pass Daily Courier quotes the superintendent’s annual park report as saying, “If ‘91 isn’t better substantially (at Crater Lake Lodge), we’ll all have a real problem on our hands.” He called the concessionaire, “a slipshod operation that fell short of the established standard. The concessionaire has been chronically delinquent in accomplishing needed maintenance. Food quality ...has been a perennial problem for several years.” (Sounds like a similar report 60 years ago.)





The first phase of the Lodge rehabilitation project begins. Will cost $2.8 million. The “Great Hall”, the center of the oldest section has deteriorated so bad, the middle section has to be completely dismantled, including the stone walls and the giant stone fireplace. Large cement foundation walls are poured and the stone work is reapplied as a veneer. By building 10 to 20 foot cement walls, stability is added to the center section. The remaining two end sections will be tied to the cement sections, thus helping to stabilize the wings of the building. The two wings will be reconstructed during phase two. Designers are targeting a 1925 look.

November 30

The NPS takes another look at plans for building a year-round hotel on the Rim of Crater Lake after the price tag doubles in three years. Congress balks at the funding, especially after spending $21 restoring the historic Lodge. Originally. the plan was to tear out Rim Village, build an 80-unit hotel and activity center on the site of the existing cafeteria and gift shop, remove the parking lot, restore the site to natural conditions and build another lot a quarter-mile down the hill that would be served by shuttle bus. Then the old lodge was to be restored. But because of its crumbling condition, restoration of the lodge was begun first. The total price tag for the Rim Development has been estimated at $66 million. The NPCA, a conservation group that lobbies against commercialization of national parks hopes to capitalize on the growing cost and kill the project.


1990 Season

A Lodge reconstruction study finds that: the roof joists were built from single 2x4’s with three foot centers. The roof, with its annual winter snow load was 300% over stressed. The engineers are wondering what kept the Lodge from total collapse. Present Lodge has 125 rooms. The rebuilt Lodge will have 71 rooms.

Crater Lake Lodge Company grosses $2.7 million in sales and earns a profit of 28 percent. Its contract called for a 2 percent return to the Federal Government which works out to $50,000. The company also pays $695 per year rent for the five government comfort stations at Mazama Campground. The rent for the new lodge will be purposely kept low so as to encourage the Lodge Company to invest in supplies and operationally equipment.


February 10

Canteen Corporation of Oregon changes its name to the Estey Corporation, though the local name of the business remains, Crater Lake Lodge, Inc.

May 26

The MT reports that the Park Service has decided to close the Lodge. Superintendent Benton claimed, “The dead weight of the building would cause the Great Hall to collapse. The decision was made purely on the basis of public safety.” The 1989 fiscal budget appropriates $1.76 for Lodge planning. The Lodge’s closure speeds along plans and money appropriation and design work for the building’s reconstruction. Public support for a rehabilitated Lodge continues to drive Congressional backing for the entire redevelopment package.



January 21

The Portland Oregonian comes out in favor of preserving the Lodge for the benefit of the public. “Crater Lake is a major attractor of tourists to Oregon and a major contributor to the economic health of Southern Oregon. Its vole ought not be restricted to five months a year. Thus, the need for a fifth alternative: restoring the historic lodge for year-round accommodations.”


January 26

At a hearing held in Medford, the NPS was told by many in the audience that “Crater Lake Lodge is a historic treasure and needs to be retained in some form. NW Regional Director, Charles Odegaard responded by saying, “ I will make the best decision I am capable about making. Hearings were also held in Klamath Falls, Roseburg and Portland. Several people felt the Lodge should be retained, but turned into an interpretive center.

February 25

NPS Northwest Regional Director, Charles Odegaard announces that Crater Lake Lodge will be restored for summer use and a new 60-room year-round lodge and visitors center will be built on the Rim. The total project is estimated to cost $33 million. Lodge rehabilitation costs set at $6.8 million. (The final price tag by 1995 nears $21 million for the old lodge and the costs for the new hotel soars over $66 million.) The key features of the project include: A three-level, 2.5 acre parking structure for about 640 vehicles. An adjacent lot would serve recreational vehicles and tour buses; a new pedestrian walkway, including an underpass below Rim Drive; the existing 400-car parking lot and another 100 parking spaces along the rim would be removed and replaced by natural vegetation. New housing for 98 seasonal employees would be built at Mazama Village, plus a 5,000-foot concession workshop and storage building. A new headquarters building would be built near the south entrance. A smaller dormitory, warehouse, museum storage and offices, plow shed and shuttle bus barn would also be built there.




May 10

House Joint Memorial 14, “Be it Resolved by the Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon: We urge the National Park Service to preserve and restore historic Crater Lake Lodge as a national asset to provide lodging at Crater Lake National Park that can be enjoyed by future generations of Americans and increasing numbers of international visitors.”




A section of rock wall on the back terrace of the aging Lodge collapses at about 2 a.m.

March 2

The NPS considers a new alternative restoration program for the Lodge that calls for the tearing down of the 1920’s addition and the building of a new lodge, back from the Rim near the Cafeteria. Estimated cost of this project is set at $5.3 million, with the main historic part of the Lodge being turned into a dining hall and gift shop with an interpretive center being built on the second floor. The new lodge planned for Munson Valley would have 60 rooms and would eventually be expanded to 100 rooms.

Oregon Congressman Bob Smith announces that NPS Director William Mott was considering a Lodge proposal to remove the annexes. 


The NPS announces that the cost of renovating the old Lodge outweighs its historic value, even though “there is a lot of sentimental value attached to the old building. The Lodge has limited architectural merit as a historical structure.” One alternative would be for the old building to be used only as a year-round visitor’s center, but unfortunately the building is located away from the center of Park activity at Rim Village.

April 29

Eric Allen, former MT editor writes in favor of preserving the historic Crater Lake Lodge. “It comes down to a sense of values. To one who has been familiar with the park for more than a half-century, who has slept in the lodge and eaten in its dining room, relaxed around the fireplace in the evening, and loves its mysteries and such a one, the idea of demeaning the lodge with cheap-jack solution, or destroying it altogether, seems a little short of criminal.”


NPS Director Mott makes an unannounced visit to the Lodge which leads to the preparation of further alternative plans for rehabilitating the building. Mott wanted to see controversial old lodge first hand. The Director eventually recommends partial restoration of the building, but remove the 1924 addition.

July 27

Jan Zack, 72, dies of a heart attach during a false alarm while evacuating the Lodge.

August 12

An 11 year-old boy, whose parents are Lodge guests, sets two trash can fires in the Lodge’s main public restroom. The newly installed fire alarm system empties the Lodge by 200 employees and guests at 8:30 p.m. The boy is caught and held by a male guest. The boy and his parents are asked to check out.

October 9

Park Superintendent Robert Benton calls a petition drive to save the old Lodge premature. “We have not made a decision yet. At the present time we’re looking very carefully at costs and a number of alternatives, from keeping all of the lodge to keeping various portions.”


January 8

Ron Warfield, Chief of Park Interpretation, reports that the Lake has completely frozen over. R.J Michael of the Lodge Company disagreed. “Spotting the open water areas has been easier since Sunday night’s snowfall. Until Monday morning it was difficult to determine if the covering was skim ice. Now, however, obvious open areas can be seen around Wizard Island and elsewhere on the Lake.”


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July 17

The Portland architectural firm of BOOR-A heads up a team of structural, electrical and mechanical engineers to determine if the 75 year old Crater Lake Lodge is worth saving. This $144,000 study will “be the final and definitive study that will help determine the Lodge’s fate.“ Congressman Jim Weaver says that all previous studies contained errors and biases and that the previous studies called for turning the Lodge into a building with “contemporary standards”. The new study will redefine “rustic standards”.

August 17

Secretary of the Interior, Donald Hodel, flies by helicopter to view the two controversial geothermal energy test drilling sites located on the east boundary of the Park. In a press conference, the secretary said he did not know whether a geothermal power plant could be compatible with the Park. “I’m confident that no activities will occur that will jeopardize the Park. “ The secretary also visits the old Lodge. The NPS has been forced to rethink plans to abandon the 75 year-old structure because of public outcry. Hodel said that he would prefer saving the building. “These kind of buildings have a place in the hearts of the people who visit the parks.”


The latest Lodge study reports that the renovation of the Lodge up to even “rustic” standards, keeping the same room sizes, etc., would cost $5.2 million. If the Lodge were brought up to modern standards, with larger rooms, the cost would be around $8.6 million.




Several public hearings concerning the future of Crater Lake Lodge are held around the state. Previous public hearings had determined that the public desired to save the historic structure, but cost estimates keep escalating. The estimated $8.6 million needed for the Rim Village reconstruction projects causes the NPS to reevaluate its position. The Park Service, facing reality, finally proposes that the 68 year old Lodge be demolished.

March 20

80% of the people surveyed want the old Lodge saved. 

June 24

NPS Director Russell Dickerson states that all development should be removed from Rim Village except for an interpretive center in the Cafeteria Building and further states that continued use of the Crater Lake Lodge contradicts NPS policy to remove all non resource- related facilities from prime resource areas.

July 12

A vehicle flips and rolls 150 down an embankment, below Rim Village, slightly injuring a female Lodge employee.

July 27

The Lodge reports a theft of $116 in tips from the Watchman Lounge.

August 1

The NPS announces that the “historic but dilapidated” Lodge is to be closed and demolished. The decision is part of a plan to remove all major development from the Rim to near the Park entrance. “The 68 year old lodge is so poorly built and so badly deteriorated that it cannot be rehabilitated for use as an overnight lodge. The structure will be razed only after it has further deteriorated.” All accommodations, roads and parking lots are to be rebuilt in Munson Valley at a cost of $5 million.

Opposition grows against the planned destruction of a “much loved” building.

August 2

The Klamath Falls Herald and News reports that the excessive camping fee of $8 plus for a family per night has been keeping people out of Mazama Campground. Superintendent Benton requests the Lodge Company to reduce the rate to a flat $6 per night.

August 28

Opposition begins to mount opposing the NPS’s decision to demolish the Crater Lake Lodge. A coalition of Oregon non-profit organizations announce plans to fight the demolition decision. The coalition claims that the rehabilitation costs are inflated and erroneous and that the Government’s contention that the Lodge is slipping into the Caldera is unsubstantiated. The group also claims that the agency is allowing an internal department policy to override national environmental policy.


Sharon Hackerott, 21, of Ashland, Oregon becomes the Lodge Company’s first female boat driver.

September 17

The NPS selects a design and engineering team headed by the Portland architectural firm of Fletcher, Finch and Ayotto to replace or rehabilitate the Crater Lake Lodge. The team will provide design, planning and engineering services to the Park. The group is required to have a site selected by November 1 for the new Lodge.

October 3

NPS Director Russ Dickerson, announces a new evaluation of the Crater Lake Lodge. “The old lodge is absolutely marvelous. It would be a tragedy if we didn’t try to preserve it. We have reconsidered our recommendation to demolish the structure.”

October 19

The Medford Mail Tribune reports that Sara Jameson, of the Crater Lake Ski Service, quits after providing cross country service for six winters. The ski service wasn’t making enough money to justify continuing and a subcontract agreement couldn’t be reached with the Lodge Company. The concessionaire plans to run the cross country program this winter. (Which they discontinued during the winter of 1996.)


$71,400 is spent each winter plowing the access road from Headquarters to Rim Village. If year round lodging and an Interpretation Center were added to Rim Village, the road clearing cost would rise to an estimated $230,000 or more. Related costs of maintaining a year-round lodge at the Rim are estimated to run at about $656,000. (All this cost for providing winter access for only 30 lodge rooms.)


Summers 1983 and 1984

A two year experiment conducted by contracting out the operation of Mazama Campground to the Lodge Company in an attempt to see if contracting services will save operational money. All camping fees in the Park are tripled to “match the prices of the private sector.”

season 1983

The Park Service employs 55 seasonal employees. The Mazama Campground Concession grosses $62,000 for the Lodge Company after the camping fee in increased to $6.00 per night.



July 12

Ralph Peyton and the Crater Lake Lodge Company file an additional $117,515 lawsuit against the National Park Service claiming that the Government was at fault for the 1975 outbreak of water-born illnesses associated with the sewer overflow into the Park’s water system.


Glen Happell, 68, General Manager for Crater Lake Lodge Company retires after working in the Park for 27 years.



January 18

Paul Heron, age 77, long time boat operator at Crater lake, dies in Klamath Fall, Oregon. Paul began working at Crater Lake as an auto mechanic in 1933. He was placed in charge of operating the Lodge Company’s boats two years later. Mr. Herron made “several thousand” hikes up and down the Caldera wall during his 28 summers at Crater Lake. He retired in 1961 following a massive heart attack, but Paul continued to work part-time for the Lodge Company in an advisory position as a machinist until his death.


Renovating Crater Lake Lodge will become number one on the list of jobs to be accomplished during 1983 in the Northwest Region of the NPS. The plans call for gutting the building’s interior and then rebuilding from the ground up with new fire-retardant materials, new plumbing and bigger rooms. Cost estimates run at about $6.5 million. $150,000 alone will be spent this summer on improving the fire alarm system.

April 3

The Oregon Legislature passes a joint memorial calling for the retention of the Lodge.

April 28

Nuckolls Construction, Inc. of Roseburg, is awarded a $306,965 contract for interim rehabilitation work on Crater Lake Lodge. Work is to include shingling on the Lake side, construction of a south fire escape, rebuilding two other fire escapes, and the extension of a stairwell and the changing of inward swinging doors. Fire retardant materials will be installed in the halls and the large chimney, once the largest in Oregon, will be chinked to prevent smoke leakage. This will be the first replacement of the 60 year old shingles.

May 5


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Crater Lake Lodge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Lodge’s fire places and chimneys are now exempted from building codes because of the listing.

July 8

Ranger Lloyd Smith physically arrests Lodge employee, Neil Neet of Eugene, Oregon for disorderly conduct, public drunkenness and assault in the Lodge Dorm after Neet threatened the life of several employees. Mr. Neet was lodged in the Jackson County Jail.


An Inclinometer is installed on the Rim, near the Lodge. Readings do not indicate any significant movement of the Rim, but the meter did detect a small movement, putting the Lodge in some danger of eventually falling into the Lake. 

August 8

538 runners take part in the sixth annual Rim Run. Many runners shorten their anticipated distances because of the record heat.

6.5 Pat Fox beats his time from last year  34:29.7
Karen Bushey of Klamath Falls   45:47 (number 47 overall)

13.1 Matt Doty of Merlin, Oregon  1:23.10
Eileen Clangus of Sacramento 

26.2 Richard Stewart of Arcata, California 2:51.26
Bob Jones, Crater Lake Lodge  2:52.03
Joan Reiss of Sacramento, California 3:28.26 (a new women’s record)

August 12

Crater Lake Lodge’s former owner, Ralph Peyton, wins his $1,082,205 lawsuit against the U.S. Government and the National Park Service in Federal Court with U.S. Magistrate Edward Leavy issuing the award. The Lodge was sold in 1976 for 1.6 million, but had been valued at 2.6 million prior to the water contamination crisis.. Leavy ruled that, “the Park Service was negligent in its design, location, construction and maintenance of the Park’s water system.”

August 31

The Federal Government agrees to settle out of court a $90,000 law suit filed against the government by former Lodge owner, Ralph Peyton stemming from the 1975 sewer/water problems. Peyton claimed that he had already paid out $81,989 in judgments to Park visitors who had either stayed or eaten at the Lodge and that he had paid out an additional $35,525 in legal fees. By now 76 claims have been settled and two more cases are still under arbitration.

December 11

Fiscal year 1981 $300,000 spent on fire and safety improvements on Crater Lake Lodge.




A new government report estimates the Lodge needs $2.4 million in safety repairs. Additional studies concluded the Lodge needed $6.5 million dollars of repairs. The work was scheduled to begin at the end of the season, 1982, but because of the cost, the work is delayed.

June 23

The Oregon Court of Appeals is asked by former Crater Lake Lodge owner, Ralph Peyton, to set aside the $15,000 in punitive damages formerly awarded to Janice Joachim in 1978. Her lawyer accused Peyton and other officials of a “massive cover up”. The lawyer said there is evidence that most of the Lodge staff was sick by June 30, and that Peyton allowed sick employees to serve food and that he did not notify authorities of their gastrointestinal illnesses.

August 31

Jeff Adams, maintenance superintendent, retires after 23 years of continuous work at Crater Lake. Mr. Adams then begins another career as Liaison Officer for the contractors working on the Lodge.

September 22

The Oregon State Court of Appeals rules that a McMinnville, Oregon woman, who became ill after drinking contaminated water in the Park five years ago is entitled to $15,000 in punitive damages. Crater Lake Lodge Company and Ralph Peyton, president of the Company in 1975 had earlier been ordered to pay Janice Joachim $4,000 in compensatory damages and $15,000 in punitive damages. Peyton had appealed to the Appeals Court contending that the punitive damage award should not have been allowed.


Public hearings are held to determine the fate of the historic Crater Lake Lodge. The Park Service has determined that the building is worth restoring and asks Congress for $6.5 million in restoration funds.



A suit seeking $8.6 million in damages is filed by Ralph Peyton and Crater Lake Lodge Company against the U.S. Government in Portland’s U.S. District Court. Peyton seeks $4,000,000 for alleged loss of business, physical damage to the property, medical expenses for his employees, loss of credit standing, and lost profits. The suit also seeks recovery from the government of $4,616,180 to cover pending claims against the Lodge. The suit claims that the national Park Service was responsible for sewage contamination in the water supply during the summer of 1975.

July 20

A Lodge girl is struck by a visitor’s car while jogging out near Discovery Point. A broken pelvis.

July 24

The Lodge’s garbage truck rolls across the parking area behind the Cafeteria and crashes into a sleeping cottage, opening up the whole front of the cabin. The family occupying the cottage had vacated only minutes before the accident.




$250.000 is appropriated for reroofing the Lodge. The project doesn’t begin until the summer of 1981.

March 31

The NPS reports that the new Annie Spring water system has cost $452,596. A total of 1,617 tort claims have been submitted against the Park due to illness caused by the sewer overflow. The loss has totaled $398,614, with several claims still pending. The only lawsuit filed against the government has been filed by the Crater Lake Lodge Company to edemnify them against future claims.


An older couple, because of a misunderstanding of the boat schedule, is left overnight on the Island. They light a huge fire which is easily seen from Rim Village, but because of the danger of running a boat at night, rescue is held off until first light. The woman in the group promises to really stir things up in Washington “because of top connections.” Superintendent Rouse treats the two of them to breakfast at the Lodge.

September 8

Tana Hill and Chief Ranger Dan Sholly marry in the Lodge. They had planned for the ceremony to take place at Sun Notch, but inclement weather forced the marriage inside.

October 26

80 people are suing Crater Lake Lodge because of the 1975 water problems.

November 9

Multnomah County Circuit Court jury awards $19,000 in damages to Janice Joachimof McMinnville, Oregon. $4,000 in general damages and $15,000 in punitive damages. Mrs. Joachim became ill after visiting Crater lake Lodge in July of 1975. The Joachim suit if the first of nearly 100 that are still pending.





Park Master Plan accepted for Crater Lake National Park. The plans call for keeping the Park as is, except for some small improvements. Mazama Campground will be extended by 50 tent sites and a camper store will be built. The Rim Center, Visitor Center and the Lodge sleeping cabins will be removed. The plans also call for a rerouting of the Rim Village cross traffic away from the edge of the Caldera and a restoration of the area with native plants. When funds become available, an all-weather Visitors Center will be built on the Rim in the middle of the old parking lot, in front of the Cafeteria. Thus the Visitors Center will become the focal point of interest and not the souvenir shop.


Mr. George Woodfield, of Yakima, Washington, donates John Maben’s collection of negatives, manuscripts, diaries and photographs of Crater Lake to the Oregon Historical Society. John Maben was the first winter caretaker of Crater Lake Lodge in 1924. Maben had attracted considerable attention when his monthly dispatches about his solitary life at Cater Lake were published in national magazines. Maben’s collection was presented to the OHS in memory of Alta Knips Woodfield, Maben’s niece, who had done a great deal of research on the history of Crater Lake.


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July 4

Steven Hummerville, 14, of Wilmington, Delaware, falls to his death while attempting to climb down to the Lake from behind the lodge. His brother Mike, 15, is rescued after failing to reach his brother. The father, an engineer for Dupont, had planned to take the boys on a boat trip, following short noon-time nap in the Lodge. Steven’s mother had died the previous summer.


The Lodge Company, along with the help of Paul Herron, age 73, places new buoys at Cleetwood and removes the old anchors, which had been made from old engine blocks.


The axle of the old Lincoln that had fallen down behind the Lodge years before is finally covered over from view by erosion and pumice dust. (Paul Herron)



March 1

Canteen Company of Oregon completes the purchase of Crater lake Lodge Company from the Peyton family.

April 16

Forced entry into the Lodge dorm by four men seeking shelter from the cold. The four had been warned that accommodations were not available during the winter.


Ralph Peyton resigns as president/manager of Crater Lake Lodge Company after 17 years.

July 18

$209 in tips stolen from the Lodge wine cooler and $50 stolen from a flight bag left behind the Lodge desk.

July 19

$80 stolen from Lodge dorm.


It has now been a year since the closing of the Park because of water contamination. Law suits and tort claims continue to be filed against the government and Lodge Company. Over 1500 people have been affected by the water contamination. Costs and claims mount into the millions of dollars.

September 10

Brian Thomas, 26, a Viet Nam veteran suffering from a severe case of post battle shock, arrives at Crater Lake, along with his wife, hoping that the peaceful, mountain surroundings will calm his troubled spirit. Brian had been threatening suicide while battling bouts of depression. Thomas spent much of the night, sitting in the Lodge lobby, wrapped in a sheet, talking and praying. Mrs. Thomas keeps an all night vigil, hoping to be able to intervene in case her husband becomes violent or dangerous to himself.

September 11

At about 8:00 a.m. Brian Thomas suddenly jumps up, announcing that he is going to kill himself, and runs out of the Lodge. Mrs. Thomas screams for help, and is quickly joined in the chase by the boat crew and several other Lodge employees. Thomas leads his pursuers along the Rim Promenade toward the Visitor Center and the Sinnott Overlook. Running down the long stone stairway, with the boat crew yelling for him to stop, Thomas, without missing a step, jumps to his death from the curving parapet of the entrance walkway in full view of Ranger Linda Appanaitis and a group of Park visitors.





A $50,000 remodeling begins on the Lodge kitchen.

June 1 - 23

Park and Concession employees begin reporting in sick. Many people thought it was probably just the annual “Crater Lake Crud” that normally strikes many employees during their first week of arrival. Within three weeks of the first report of employee illness, (except for the Rangers stationed at Annie Spring, and the Lodge owner, Ralph Peyton, who claimed “I never drink water”), 90% of all Park employees come down sick with diarrhea, vomiting, cramps, dehydration and weight loss.

June 26

With so many Government, Youth Conservation Corps Enrollees and Concession sick, many employees feel that the source of the sickness must be the water. Bruce Stubblefield, YCC director, asks Chief Ranger Jim Wiggins about the water quality. Bruce is told that the water is tested frequently. When Stubblefield suggests contacting the Klamath County Health Department in Klamath Falls, Wiggins tells him that the county has no jurisdiction in the park. All water problems would have to be handled by the U.S. Public Health Service.

Ralph Peyton, president of Crater Lake Lodge Co., calls two private doctors in Klamath Falls and Portland and is told that there is a lot of “flu going around”.

July 4

Dr. John Googins, state epidemiologist, and other members of his team meet with Superintendent Sims. Illnesses seem to be declining, part of a regional problem with the “flu” they feel. While checking food services at the Lodge, Lodge President Ralph Peyton challenges the health team’s authority to come onto federal land and clams they are on a “witch hunt.” The team finally leaves the Park in the evening, “puzzled by the information collected” and confused as to whether the State of Oregon has jurisdiction to follow the situation any further, but is convinced that the source of the employee illnesses is most likely the water supply.

July 9

Notices are being handed out to Park visitors at both entrance stations warning them that the Park’s water might be contaminated and that they should first boil or treat the water with iodine before using. The notice is signed by Superintendent Sims. Signs with the same wording are posted at all Park facilities, campgrounds, the Lodge and over all drinking fountains.

Ms.. Gena Wright, supervising sanitarian, checks the food service areas of the Lodge and Cafeteria and notices that some of the workers are ill. The medical team suggests closing down the food service, but Dr. Koplan asks for another 24 hours since the method of transmission has not yet been determined. Dr. Koplan asks for more help and Dr. Googins sends three additional staff members.

After phoning Headquarters and applying pressure, Superintendent Sims allows Lodge President Peyton to replace the Health Service signs with one of their own. The Lodge company posts signs above all Rim Village drinking fountains reading, “THIS WATER HAS BEEN ADEQUATELY CHLORINATED AND IS TESTED DAILY BY THE U.S. PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE.” Seasonal patrol rangers are dispatched to remove all Public Health Service warning signs. The rangers complete their job around midnight, after several nasty confrontations with Mr. Peyton. Peyton wants to know what all the excitement is all about, “After all, nobody has died yet.”

July 10

Ryan Gilmore, food service manager, following a food service inspection by Drs. Koplan and Rosenberg, decides to close the Lodge dining room tomorrow to consolidate employees who can still work in the cafeteria.

At 7:30 p.m. Jeff Adams discovers an area directly below the Lodge where the snow has fallen in and discovers an overflowing manhole on the sewer line leading directly from the Lodge. The exposed ground is covered with sewage, solid waste and toilet paper.

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At 7:30 p.m. Jeff Adams discovers an area directly below the Lodge where the snow has fallen in and discovers an overflowing manhole on the sewer line leading directly from the Lodge. The exposed ground is covered with sewage, solid waste and toilet paper.

Titus and Barnes walk the watershed between Munson Spring and the Lodge, checking all holes in the snow. Solid human waste and paper are visible. The odor of human waste is very evident. 

July 11

General Superintendent Ernie Borgman is contacted at 12:30 by Superintendent Sims. After talking with Peyton and other health specialists, the decision is made to close the Park. More dye is placed in the sewer line and it soon appears in the Munson Valley sewer lagoon. Lime and chlorine are spread on the raw sewage around the overflowing manhole.

At 8:15 a.m. the Park is closed to the public with all entrances being manned on a 24-hour basis. This becomes the first closure of a major National Park in the history of the NPS.

By noon a National Guard helicopter arrives with medical supplies so that Public Health people can begin administering gamma globulin shots.

120 Crater Lake Lodge employees and about 50 Park Service employees are temporarily furloughed, some with full pay.

July 12

All available Park staff are assembled at Headquarters to begin a massive mailout to all Park Visitors who had spent at least one night in the Park warning them of the water problem and suggesting that they seek medical attention. No addresses exist for the hundreds of visitors who had camped at Mazama and the Rim Campgrounds. It was interesting to find that many of the Lodge visitors had used fictitious or nonexistent addresses.

August 1

Crater Lake National Park reopens for visitors. Because of limited water supplies, water conservation is urged. The Lodge and the Rim Campground remain closed. The Park’s water is being supplied by three Army portable water purifying units from Ft. Lewis, Washington set alongside the road at Munson Springs.




Seven environmental groups make a “cause celebre” of the Lodge’s $350,000 employee dorm on the Rim. F.O.E., The Sierra Club and Wilderness Society all feel that the dorm should be built at Denton Park, the Lodge Company’s private resort, one mile outside the south Park boundary. The dorm is eventually constructed, but as a compromise the Park drops for motel units located on the rim and at Park Headquarters.

August 19

Lodge trail tractor, loaded with 350 pounds of scuba diving equipment and two Lodge employees, loses it brakes, and rolls 50 feet into the caldera. Two members of the boat crew receive leg injuries.


The NPS reprimands the Lodge Company when they discover plastic marijuana plants being sold in the Cafeteria. Several of the fake plants had been “planted” around the Park in public areas.





Government assessment report places the value of all government buildings in the Park at $479,610 in preparation of the sale of The Steel Circle Residence Area to The Crater Lake Lodge Company.


July 9

Two additional 60 passenger, $30,000 (some sources report $45,000) tour boats are added to the ever growing Crater Lake navy. The two boats, the “ Ralph Peyton” and the “Jim Griffin” (Crater Lake Lodge owners) were built during the winter by the Rudy Wilson Boat works of Portland, Oregon and trucked to Discovery Point. The two lake launches were air lifted, minus their engines, from Discovery Point parking lot to Wizard Island by a Sikorsky Sky Crane logging helicopter. The Peyton and Griffin will replace the aging launches “Fisher” and “Minn”. On the return trips, the helicopter brings out the Ranger’s patrol boat, which was sent to Olympic National Park, and an O.S.U. Research Boat. (The Griffin is renamed the “Glen Happel” in 1983 following the sale of Crater Lake Lodge.) Mrs. Kathy Peyton dutifully christened the two launches with two bottles of Champaign moments before the airlift began.


Construction of the Concession’s employee dorm is begun on the slope below the Lodge.


The Park Service forces the Lodge to remove their stock of life-size marijuana plants after several are found “growing” along the Cleetwood Cove Trail and out by North Entrance. The plastic replicas were a popular item among Lodge employees.

August 8

The Lodge Company’s boat house is destroyed by a disastrous fire on Wizard Island. Rudy Wilson, boat builder, attributed the fire to a “faulty generator”. A spark from the muffler of the generated, vented through the rear wall fell on a rotten log, smoldering for several hours and finally bursting into flames about 8 p.m. Fire crews were immediately dispatched, but because of the distances involved, three hours passed before the initial attack began. The fire loss is estimated at $50,000. Since the boat house had been built in a heavy grove of 400 year old Shasta Red Firs, to help camouflage the building, dozens of the giant trees were destroyed in the 5 acre forest fire. Lodge owner, Ralph Peyton, blamed the boathouse fire on lightning so that the insurance claim could be settled faster and the company would not be held responsible for irreplaceable damage done to one of the most photographed areas in the World.

August 9

Lodge employee dorm construction begins between the Rim Campground and the Lodge. The government plans called for it to be built next the Cafeteria, but Ralph Peyton, Lodge owner decided on his own, without government permission, to move it so as to be better hidden from public view and not further clutter up Rim Village.

August 15

Three young boys rescued from inside the Rim below the Lodge.

August 16

The underground power cable supplying Rim Village shorts out between Headquarters and Rim Village. The Lodge and Cafeteria are without light, power, or heat for the next 36 hours. A snow storm strikes the Rim area as rain and fog engulf the Park. Lodge patrons end up sleeping in the lobby, as the giant fireplace become the only source of heat. Candles are lit throughout the Lodge creating an enormous potential for fire. Meals are being cooked on white gas camping stoves. The residents take the whole emergency in stride and seem to enjoy the new challenge.

August 17

George Weetman, Lodge Employee, is struck on the back of the head and robbed of $7 while carrying a bag of linen to the laundry in the Lodge basement. At the time of the incident, the basement was dark due to an electrical failure. Weetman was unconscious for over an hour.

August 27

A new, prefab boat house is flown by helicopter to Wizard Island, in 15 prebuilt sections, replacing the 1962 boathouse burned three weeks earlier. The boathouse was increased in size without first obtaining permission from the National Park Service. The helicopter also airlifted out an old Lake launch, the “Min”, named after Minnie Price, wife of the Lodge owner (1921 - 1954). The Min was trucked to Klamath Falls and given to a local troop of Sea Scouts.



August 14

Lodge Rim Tour bus totaled in accident behind Llao Rock after the driver, Bill Ellhart, blacks out because of a sudden pinching of a neck nerve as he turned to answer a question from his passenger and smashes into a rock road cut, with the bus sliding for 170 feet. Elhart is sent to the hospital with a broken back, four broken ribs, a broken nose and numerous cuts and bruises. Bill’s two elderly passengers sustain only bruises.

August 23

An employee car with four Lodge employees on board, rolls three times at North Junction. All four are transported by ambulance to Klamath Falls.

August 31

Armed robbery occurs at the Lodge. A 22 year-old man robs a Park visitor, at gun point in a Lodge restroom. The robber gets away with about $38.


Early 1970’s

The boat crew, led by Lodge owner’s son, Mike Peyton, turns Crater Lake into their own private lake by water skiing behind the launches and fishing after hours around Phantom Ship.




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The NPS acquires the ownership of the Historic Crater Lake Lodge, as the result of the Lodge Company relinquishing ownership as a new 30 year concession contract is renegotiated. The new contract is the longest concession contract in the history of the National Park Service. As one employee said, “The Lodge Company owners must have some powerful friends high up in the government.” The NPS plans to tear down the old lodge and build a new one in Munson Valley. The conversion of the Steel Circle residents into lodges and motels is being strongly considered in the Park’s Master Plan. 




December 20

A new 30 year contract is executed with the expectation that the concessioners will embark on a $2 million development program for Rim Village and Munson Valley. The Lodge is conveyed to the NPS.




September 1

NPS Director Hartzog visits the Park and stays overnight in the Lodge. An agreement is made for the NPS to buy the building. The plan is to reduce the Lodge to a low profile structure to the height of the exterior masonry walls.

November 23

An appraisal is done of the concession and NPS buildings at Rim Village and Munson Valley, so that Peyton can ascertain the value of NPS property at Park Headquarters. Peyton is willing to trade his Rim Village property for much of Munson Valley. He hopes to use the proceeds from the sale of the Lodge to finance this new development. Development of the new two-story visitor center is planned to be accomplished by 1970.





Bill Elhart of Ashland, begins six years of driving bus for Crater Lake Lodge. (65 - 71) During his six summers at Crater Lake, Bill drove 1,080 Rim tours in the Company’s 15 passenger stretch Pontiac limo. Driving daily round trips to Ashland, Bill racked up 136,080 miles.



February 13

Lodge Concessionaires, Peyton and Griffin want to match the money they will receive from the sale of the Lodge and put it toward construction of a new hotel. They are adamant that the new building should have a view of the Lake since they are give up a site with a view.


Construction begins on the Lodge Company’s new 100 foot boathouse on Wizard Island. The Government constructs a steel pier at Cleetwood Cove. The upper side of the Rim Wall is blasted to obtain fill material, which is quickly washed away during winter storms. The blast site has been unstable ever since.



August 14

The Oregon Journal reports that the Park Service has programmed $350,000 to purchase and remodel the Lodge into a Visitors’ Center. “The improvements will not be completed until 1963.”

September 13

$297,000 is programmed to acquire the Lodge by the NPS. The building is to be converted into a visitor center, with construction starting July, 1963 and with completion by July of 1967.



November 27

Larry Ralph Peyton, the 19 year-old son of Ralph & Kathryn Peyton, Crater Lake Lodge owners, is found stabbed to death in his car which was parked at Forest Park in Portland. Peyton had been stabbed 23 times. The interior of the car showed evidence of “a terrific struggle”. Missing and presumed kidnapped or slain was Peyton’s girlfriend, Beverly Ann Allen, also 19, from Washington State. Peyton and Allen had met the previous summer while employed at Crater Lake Lodge. Miss Allen had been visiting the Peytons during the Thanksgiving weekend. The two college students had left for an evening drive following dinner. Allen’s body was discovered nearly two months later lying in roadside brush, alongside a highway, west of Portland. (The murders were eventually solved 10 or so years later, but not conclusively.)


John Towne, Lodge employee, swims 5 3/4 miles across the Lake, to within 1/2 mile of the Cleetwood boat dock. The can of grease was lost so the Lake was swum grease-less and Towne became too cold and had to be pulled from the water.
Some time during the 1960’s

While dumping garbage at the Park’s garbage dump, the truck driver would take his girlfriend along so they could walk around the pit area and observe the many bear that were feasting on the garbage. Glenn Happell, Lodge manager, secretly tied a fish underneath the truck. While the couple was out of the truck taking their walk, so many bears gathered around the garbage truck, the driver was prevented from getting back to his truck.



Ralph Peyton and Jim Griffin acquire the Crater Lake Lodge Company from the Smiths. Negotiations begin with the new concessionaires for the NPS to buy the Lodge for $285,000 and convert the building into a visitor center. The new concessionaires were to take the purchase price and construct a new motel accommodating 250 people adjacent to the cafeteria building. A new access road was planned from the south that would diverge from the existing road below Rim Campground and allow visitors to avoid the congested plaza area as they made their way to the new visitor center.





Evening ranger programs are begun in the Great Hall of the Lodge. These continue for 20 years, when they are removed to the old Rim Center (Community Building). The Lodge is sleeping 300 people each night, including 90 employees.



May 11

A ten year development plan is presented t the NPS by the Smiths. The concessioner have found that their volume has increased since taking over, with profits and use of the Lodge showing gains each summer.



September 1

Glenn Happell begins working on the maintenance crew for the Crater Lake Lodge Company. Years later, Glenn was promoted to President of the company. For thirty years, Mr. Happell drove daily from his homes in Central Point and Ashland, mostly during the winter.



Teen-age girl falls to her death while hiking along the Rim between the Sinnott Overlook and the Lodge. Her sister works at McLoughlin Junior High School in Medford.



Harry and “Pop” Smith purchase the Crater Lake Lodge Company. The Haner Report recommends that the Lodge should be rehabilitated rather than being replaced. With proper care and the spending of $72,000, the Haner Report estimated the useful life of the Lodge could be extended another 20 years.




August 19

An inspection repot notes that the dining room ceiling in the Lodge is seriously deteriorated. The Lodge’s septic tank is reported to be inadequate and effluent discharges in seepage trenches allow effluent to run in considerable volume down the mountain to Munson Valley. Sewage disposal at the Lodge is totally inadequate and its correction calls for emergency action before reopening next season.





September 27

Regional Architect, Charles Lundgren notes in his Lodge report that the building is sagging. Dry rot is weakening support beams. The Chinese quarters above the kitchen are in poor condition. The garbage cans near the kitchen should be fenced and screened.

October 15

Lodge Manager Price is not allowed to return to work because of ill health.




Ruth Hopson Keen, 4138 S.W. Fourth Ave., Portland, OR 97201, (222-1430) becomes the first lady Ranger-Naturalist. Ruth worked the month of June, then taught at the Park under Dr. Rule. She gave her programs in the Lodge and lived for two summers with the Leavitts.

October 15

Superintendent Leavitt reports that due to labor unrest and quarrels, Lodge manager Price has fired his son-in-law who headed up the Company’s improvement program, along with a number of other employees.




June 14

Lodge concession begins daily bus service to Medford.



May 10

In an internal letter, the NPS observes that the fire escapes at the Lodge are inadequate. To use them, a guest would have to get access to an often locked room and then step up on a chair to reach the window sill.

June 3

NPS Director Drury writes that the removal of the Lodge should be made a condition for granting a new concession contract in 1960.

August 6

Fatal fall of Lodge employee near Vidae Falls.


The regional NPS office recognizing the high fire danger of the lodge attempts to close the building as a public hazard, but political pressure keeps it open for another 40 years. During the 1960’s and 1970’s the building bedded down 300 employees and guests. Fire escapes included knotted ropes leading out to ladders nailed onto the roof. Fire escapes and a sprinkler system were not added until the late 1970’s.




June 15

The Lodge reopens after being closed for four years during the war. Much damage to be repaired.

July 19

Rescue of two persons from below the Lodge.




September 30

The third reported sighting of a dust cloud over Crater Lake. Park Ranger Kenneth Hurlburt observed the cloud at about 11:15 a.m. from a lookout point on the west side of the lake, between Hillman and Llao Rock. The cloud was about 300 to 400 feet wide and extended upward to a distance of four hundred to five hundred feet. It was diamond in shape, narrow at the top and bottom and wider in the middle of the formation. He observed it from all the various lookout points along the rim, as far south as Crater Lake Lodge. (from a NPS press release)




February 11


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Assistant Superintendent, Thomas Parker, in a memorandum to Park Superintendent Leavitt, writes that “no national park can hope to come into its own if operated only on a short seasonal basis....A safe and comfortable means of reaching the lake shore should be provided...I do believe that hiking, horseback riding, boating, fishing, campfires...are all compatible with each other. With this thought in mind, I see the urgent need for a tunnel, or elevator, to the lake shore, and the development of a fine winter sports area, and program...if a tunnel for vehicles was constructed from near headquarters, the entrance portal would be close to the (new) campground, with adequate space for parking of cars...When one reaches the park...and is given the choice of a bleak, cold windy camp ground, or a drafty room in a ramshackle lodge at prices that would put the blush of shame on the operator of a clip joint,...we cannot expect them to tarry long in our midst or praise us for our thoughtfulness towards our guests. “

August 6

The Lodge is called a “fire trap of the worst sort” and a recommendation is made that it should be replaced as soon as possible. The Rim Village development is further described as an unsightly conglomeration of buildings which should be demolished and the entire area except for the road and parking lot be allowed to revert to nature. (R.D. Waterhouse, Associate Engineer)



July 27

The last day the Lodge is open until it opens after the War on June 15, 1946.


1930’s and 1940’s

Story persists that a dish was placed in the Lake below Sinnott Memorial Overlook to show how clear the Lake is. Some say it was a dinner plate from the lodge. (A drawing of the Lodge could be seen on the plate.) Others claim the disc was 10 feet in diameter. Depth of the “plate” in the Lake varies from 10 feet up to 150 feet beneath the surface.




Al Smith, Lodge house boy, claims to be the first recorded person to walk around Crater Lake after a day’s work. Smith, accompanied by a house girl also named Smith, leave the Lodge area at 7:00 p.m. and return to the Lodge at approximately 5:45 a.m. in time to go to work at 7 a.m. They traveled by trail, no trail and by road around the Lake. 


Allan Smith, lodge employee, tells of dancing with Carol Lombard at the Rim Community Center. (It may have been 1938 or 1940.) Miss Lombard and Clark Gable were visiting the Park for a day or two. Gable cussed a lot when Miss Lombard wanted to dance with the employees and she swore back. Lombard wouldn’t leave with Gable when he left for bed.


Park regulation, “Dogs and cats prohibited from staying overnight in Park, unless special authorization has been received from the Superintendent.” New law didn’t apply to people staying in the Lodge or cabins.




Stone curbing placed around all driveways in Government Camp and around the Lodge parking area.

September 26

The Lodge dining room is closed and used for auto storage.




A fire inspection reports problems with knotted drop cords in the Lodge’s guest rooms. Fire escapes are damaged or rotten. 

July 20

Paul Herron, of Klamath Falls, assumes boat operations on Crater Lake. He worked seasonally on the Lake until August 27, 1959 at which time he suffered a heart attack and was forced to retire. Herron did continue to work as a consultant to the company until the late 1970’s.

Paul had worked as an auto mechanic for the Lodge Company’s seven Hudson Auto Stages, earning $90 per month with $30 taken out for B/R after ten years of experience. He was frequently called out to assist with visitor break-downs caused by the Park’s rough roads. All fees earned had to be turned into the company. Because of Mr. Herron’s interest in boats, he was assigned to work as a boat mechanic and eventually became headman for 27 years. The original boats Paul had charge of were 30 passenger with Magori Marine and Peerless engines. He replaced the original engines in 1936 with two Hudson super 1926, after having been on the road for over 100,000 miles. One engine stayed in the boats until 1950 and the other was used every summer until 1960.



February 23

Emil Nordeen wins the Annual Crater Lake Ski Race to the cheering of 3,500 spectators and permanent possession of the Ft. Klamath cup in the winning ski time of 5 hours and 35 minutes. The skiers followed unplowed roads from Ft. Klamath to Crater Lake Lodge and back again.


Post Office is located in the Lodge. Hot water, showers, and plenty of wood available in the upper (Rim) Campground. Campground located at White Horse Creek, because of the early snow melt at that elevation and the availability of water.

September 22

Power is delivered to a transformer substation at the Lodge, making the first time that generators do not have to be used. An 11,000 volt transmission line is constructed.


Judge Steel continues to push for his idea of a road down to the Lake, connecting the Lodge with Kerr Notch below Garfield and Applegate Peak. Will Steel expressed a low opinion of those who opposed his plan on a theory that the road would mar the beauty of the natural landscape. “Crater Lake belongs to the people. If they want to deface the wall, they can do. What good is scenery if you can’t enjoy it? Every person who visits Crater Lake wants to go to the Lake shore and out on the beautiful Lake in a boat. With the road, I propose every person, be he aged, crippled, or otherwise unable to make the present long trip down to the water and back, can drive down in comfort.” “This newspaper (Portland Oregonian) is entirely behind Judge Steel in his visionary project.”



April 11

Former Lodge operator and owner, Parkhurst, dies in Portland.

July 29

The Park’s post office is established in the Lodge.

1930 Season

Lodge loses $2,000 for the year. $10,000 spent on Sinnott Overlook, completing its construction for a total budget of $32,500.



The Lake Launch “Min” is lowered west of the cafeteria down a snow chute. The Fisher is also lowered here in 1958. The Min was almost destroyed when it slid out of control down the pumice chute. The “Min” was named for Mrs. Minnie Price, wife of the Lodge manager. The boat was air-lifted out by the Navy in 1972 and given to a Sea Scout Troop in Klamath Falls.


Lodge boat sinks while being towed.



First annual Crater Lake Ski Race staged from 1/2 mile south of Ft. Klamath, up to the Lodge on the Rim and back again to the Fort, a distance of 42.6 miles and a total elevation climb of 2,200 feet. Won by Manfred Jacobson of McCloud, California, in 7 hours and 34 minutes. A crowd of over 1,000 people showed up at the Fort to cheer on the race participants.


The first road oiling project is begun at the Rim to fight the blowing pumice dust after a new road from Munson Valley reaches Rim Village. The new route changed the Village’s circulation patter because it now enters the area at the plaza created by the NPS instead of near the Lodge. The old 1914 route is abandoned.


Construction of the New Lake Trail is begun, with a maximum grade of 15%. Trail opens the summer of 1929. The Rim Cafeteria building is constructed, built by the Salter Construction Co. of Prospect. The Lodge Company used Italian stone cutters from California. In order for visitors to see the Lake earlier in the season, 15 miles of road was cleared of snow by using explosives and shovels.

1926 season

Park regulations require that Automobiles and horse-drawn vehicles shall have the right-of-way over motorcycles. Auto stage rates from Medford or Klamath Falls to Crater Lake are set at $17.50. The Lodge now has 154 sleeping rooms and tent houses. Boat trips take people out on Crater Lake for 2.5 hours at a cost of $3.00. A 41 mile bus trip around the Rim Drive costs $5.00.


September 20

A bronze plaque is dedicated in memory of John Wesley Hillman. Will Steel places the plaque on a large boulder near Discovery Point. A heavy snowstorm which deposited more than a foot of snow at the Rim, held down attendance, forcing the ceremonies into the Lodge. Speakers included Will Steel and Capt. O.C. Applegate. (The plaque is stolen in 1968 and is mailed back to the Park by a police department on the Oregon Coast)



January 16

John Maben, Lodge Caretaker, “The lake froze over and stayed closed until the morning of the 20th. The Lake ice reached a thickness of one inch. An usual thing. Most of the ice will disappear by now, the wind breaking it up and driving it to the north shore.”

June 12

The Rim Lodge opens with 800 people visiting the first day.


New west wing of the Lodge and 24 new rooms are completed.




September 26


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Will Steel writes a letter to President Harding in an apparent vain attempt to persuade the Government to fully compensate former Lodge owner Alfred Parkhurst for the losses Parkhurst sustained when the NPS foreclosed on his concession contract. “Pardon my interference with matters of state...(but I am impressed) to present you with the following facts for your consideration...My life has been devoted to the development of Crater Lake as one of the greatest international attractions of the country...A high handed crime has been perpetuated by Stephen T. Mather, Director of the National Park Service, aided and abetted by Albert B. Fall, Secretary of the Interior, and a member of your official family for which public sentiment will hold you responsible, unless these criminals are summarily dismissed from the offices they have so conspicuously disgraced...These facts are respectfully submitted to you in the belief that right will prevail.” Very Sincerely Will G. Steel (On March 22, 1923 Sec. Hubert Work responded. Mr. Parkhurst voluntarily sold his interests to the present company...It would seem, under these circumstances, that the matter should be regarded as closed.) Steel added: Is it possible that officials of this government can resort to crime and still be retained in office by this administration?


A $60,000 expansion of the Lodge begins. ( the West Wing) The last major work done on the lodge for nearly 70 years. The first work done was the opening of a rock quarry. The Lodge will soon have 105 rooms.


July 22

Violin selections are played at the Lodge in the evenings with the Great Hall beautifully decorated with greens. Will Steel gives evening talks at the Lodge.

August 24

Outside fireplace dedicated by Mather, Secretary Fall, Olmsted and Southern Pacific President McCormick. Fire burns so hot in the new fireplace that the Lodge’s roof is set on fire.

September 1

A photo of Will Steel is hung over the mail box in the Lodge and an electric light is placed over the picture.

September 21

record auto run to Crater Lake from Medford of 3 hours and 20 minutes. “This record will stand for years.”

The Crater Lake National Park Company, with Mr. Eric V. Hauser of Portland as President, is organized. Mr. R.W. Price, manager, invests more than $20,000 in improvements. Mr. Price became manager of the Lodge after it went broke under Mr. Parkhurst’s ownership. The new manager had slowly acquired control of the company’ stock. The new company needs $60,000 for construction of the new wing, $20,000 for repairs, and $40,000 to buy Parkhurst out.




A Delco lighting plant is installed next to the Lodge.

July 13

Parkhurst, Lodge operator, loses the Crater Lake franchise after eight stormy years.

July 14

Nearly all Lodge employees quit because of poor working conditions.

September 22

Seven inches of snow falls at Crater Lake Lodge.

December 19

A “Crater Lake Committee” appointed by Gov. Olcott details its findings about Parkhurst’s operation of the Lodge. They say that the guest rooms are not completely furnished. The lighting system is inadequate, the outside fireplace is not properly sheltered from the wind, and there is no garage. It is stated that the Lodge is weatherproof and is generally in good repair, but considerable money should be spent to improve the interior. The committee reports that the hotel does not have adequate pumping facilities and so has run short of water on several occasions. Laundry facilities are 85 miles away in Medford.




August 18

Stephen Mather spends the night in the new Lodge. Complains of horrible dusty roads and being forced to sleep four to a bed.



May 22

In a letter to Horace Albright, Assistant Director, George Goodwin, Civil Engineer, reports on Alfred Parkhurst’s Lodge operation. Parkhurst was told that the food and service supplied in the Hotel would have to be more satisfactory; and that if he did not or could not do this, the Service would have to take active measures to see that it was done.


6,000 acre fire burns in and around the Park. 18 miles of well-constructed dirt roads are now found inside the park. Union Peak Trail constructed. Major addition the Lodge begun.


April 15

Telephone communication is established between the Lodge and Annie Springs.

August 19

The Portland Chamber of Commerce says that the Lodge should not be confused with an elaborate hotel of the summer resort variety. They say the building has 54 rooms, some with hot and cold water. 


The Lake Trail (Sparrow Trail), located between the Lodge and Garfield, and the Garfield Peak Trail are extensively rebuilt during the summer season. Superintendent Sparrow rides his horse to the top of and the bottom of both trails. It starts on the north side of the Lodge and is called the Lake Trail. The Trail is 1.25 miles long with a 15 percent grade. The Watchman Trail is built.


August 7

The sleeping accommodations at the Lodge are pressed to the limit by 258 guest registering for the night. Guest sleep in the Great Hall.

September 15

Roscoe Howard writes a letter to Oregon Representative, N.J.Sinnott complaining that the Rim Camp Trail to the Lake is exceedingly dangerous. The writer notes that the Lodge has no fire escapes and an imperfect water supply. the building is not complete and is illuminated above the first floor by kerosene lamps and candles.


February 10

Alfred Parkhurst, concessioner, states that there are nine rooms on the second floor and nine rooms on the third floor of the Lodge that are supplied with hot and cold water. These rooms will be extra well furnished and are worthy of an extra charge of 50 cents a day. Parkhurst would like to charge 25 cents a day for heating stoves and an extra 50 cents for baths.

April 3

An article in the Saturday Evening Post state that golf links are proposed for the area east of the Lodge and that cottages will take the place of tend houses at the Rim.

July 3

The new Crater Lake Lodge formally opens in honor of Governor Withycombe and the first meals are served. Governor’s Bay on Wizard Island named by Steel in honor of the Governor. The opening date was planned to coincide with the San Francisco World’s Fair.

August 7

William Jennings Bryan and party visit the Park. Bryan announces support of Steel’s road project to be built inside the crater wall from the Lodge to Kerr Notch. Bryan promises to use his influence in Congress. Steel also recommends the building of a powered elevator from the Lodge to the lakeshore.


Truman Cook, age 22, of Portland, Oregon arrives at Crater Lake to work for the Lodge Company. He reports that the only motor boat on the lake was a 16 foot boat with a 3 hp inboard motor. The boat was stored in the boat house on Wizard Island and was operated by the 16 year old son of the concession manager during the season. In the boat house was a half completed 36 foot boat. With the help of a house carpenter, Truman completes the boat. The 300 pound engine is skidded down from the Rim and installed on Wizard Island. When launched, the boat becomes the second motorized boat on the Lake and the first boat capable of carrying 20 passengers.



July 12

The “Mail Tribune” reports that the Hall Taxi Co. will run a round trip to Crater Lake for $13.00. “This is exactly what the trip costs”, says manager Court Hall. Other reports say that that the driver, Seely Hall, charged $18. The taxi would leave Medford at 8 a.m. in a custom-built 1911 Cadillac and stop at Prospect for lunch, arriving at the Lake around 5 p.m. The driver also carried milk, eggs, vegetables and mail to Crater Lake Lodge.

1914 season

Mark Daniels, part-time NPS landscape architect begins work on the design for a new grand lodge to be placed on the Rim. In his writings and description of the project, Daniels casually uses the term “Rim Village” as the location of Parkhurst’s new grand lodge.



Crater Lake Lodge is still under construction. Opening date is delayed yet another year because the winter snows had collapsed the roof into the basement. Most of the roof joists were made of 2x4’s. The designers and builders seemed oblivious to the snow load requirements.

July 22

Lodge operator Parkhurst knocks out former Superintendent Arant with a blow from an auto wrench at Fort Klamath because of the Steel-Arant superintendent's conflict.

1913 Season

W.G. Steel opens up the Dewee Falls area to visitors. There are 1,200 acres of private land in the Park. Fourteen land entries: 8 are patented, 2 approved, 4 unapproved. 6,253 visitors enter the Park with 760 one-dollar auto permits sold along with 13 motorcycle permits. Construction of the handsome stone Lodge building continues. When completed, the new Lodge will replace the temporary wooden hotel on the Rim. Will contain about 60 rooms.  


August 31

Masons are nearing completion on the stonework for the new Lodge. The walls are incomplete at the end of the season because of the time-consuming task of quarrying the rock and hauling it by wagon to the Rim. The origin of the rock shifted to the Annie Springs area because it was of better quality. 80% of the kitchen wing is complete and the stonework of the lobby and dining hall is finished. 

winter 1912

Colored photographs of Crater Lake are hung on the walls of the U.S. Capitol. Superintendent Arant attempts to feed and tame the bears in the Park for the enjoyment of park tourists. He also carefully trimmed the trees along the roads to “help edify the park.” The U.S. Congress appropriates $627,000 for roads in the park. The addition of a second ranger. Extensive vandalism done to the Lodge and furnishings. $50,000 given for roads. 



June 16

Alfred Parkhurst, the Lodge company’s major stockholder, visits the Park and announces that the new hotel will now be made from stone. The Lodge will be ornamented in design, be 150 feet long, have glassed porches facing the Lake, and contain four great stone chimneys. (MT)

July 25

In an Oregonian interview, Frank Keyes, Loge building contractor, states that the Lodge will be constructed of stone throughout. The material is to come from one of the “nearby volcanic ledges” and will be hauled about half a mile. Although rough, it is supposedly splendid building rock but is a little difficult to handle. “A large amount of cement will be used.” In each room, there will be a large fireplace and mantle “like the old-timers of the backwoods country were used to.”

October 9

First part of the Lodge construction begins on the Rim at a cost of $75,000. The lodge will contain the largest fireplace in the state. Main part of the Lodge will be built in 1912.




July 20

The first lodging in the Park consists of tent houses on the Rim (Camp Crater) and at Camp Arant (Anna Springs) there is a small hotel, store and gas station, built by the Crater Lake Company. After choosing the site where the Mazamas gathered in 1896, Steel supplies the funds to begin construction of the Crater Lake Lodge. (The Lodge of the Imagination.) Work was slow due to labor disputes, supply problems, and financing difficulties. Steel plans to have an electric plant available for lighting.

1909 season

Two concessions are in operation in the park. One for lodging (two hotels) and one for transporting visitors in and around the park. Both concessions were owned by the Crater Lake Company. The new Lodge’s foundation has been completed.



summer 1907


Construction begins on the first phase of the new Crater Lake Lodge. Estimated that the cost will be about $5,000 and the construction will be completed in 2 summers.






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