“I met Judge John B. Waldo, who asked me why I did not apply
(for National Park protection) for the entire Cascade
range. Taking it as irony, I made a factitious reply, which he
assured me that he was in dead earnest and asked me to call at
his office, which I did. We talked the matter over at
considerable length and I was deeply impressed with his
knowledge of the situation and the value of such a move. (From
this meeting came the movement to protect the Cascade Reserves
which today are known as the National Forests.)
Senator J.N. Dolph introduces legislation in Congress to set
aside Crater Lake as a National Park.
The Hon. Binger Herman introduces a bill in Congress to set
Crater Lake and five townships aside as a public park. Senator
Dolph’s “state park” bill passes the Senate, again in 1888,
again in 1890 and also in 1892. The legislation is defeated each
time in the House of Representative.
President Cleveland signs a presidential proclamation
withdrawing from settlement 50 section of public domain
including diamond Lake and Mt. Thielsen, but the proclamation
leaves out the east rim of the lake and Cloud Cap, due to a
survey error that is later corrected.
Steel’s “Cleetwood” Party leaves Portland by train headed toward
Crater Lake. Captain Dutton and ten soldiers arrive in Ashland
to begin loading the Cleetwood boat off of its railroad car.
Steel picks up his boat, the Cleetwood and makes final
preparations for the Lake’s exploration. Steel soon leaves
Ashland with 35 men and 65 horses and mules and the 26 foot
Cleetwood, and two skiffs for a difficult 85 mile trip through
the mountains to Crater Lake.
From the ROGUE COURIER, “Three boats for Crater Lake, furnished
by the government, passed up on a freight a few days ago.”
The Cleetwood Party and Will Steel reach foot of grade leading
to Crater Lake.
Steel’s party begins ascent to lake, arriving on the Rim at
The launching of the boats commences. The first skiff is lowered
into the Lake at 3:00 p.m. and the second by 6:00 p.m.
Final preparations are made for lowering the Cleetwood.
At 7:30 a.m., the Cleetwood begins its decent behind the present
Lodge, on Garfield Trail. Fifteen men work 8 hours to launch the
boat. Wizard Island is visited by both the Cleetwood and the two
skiffs. The lowering of the Cleetwood: Weighed 900 pounds and
was 26 feet long, constructed of spruce and ash. Cleetwood
Canyon, located behind the present Lodge, was named by William
Steel because this was the location where the Cleetwood was slid
down to the Lake. With the launching of the Cleetwood, soundings
of the lake are begun under the direction of Captain Clarence E.
Dutton, chief of the Geological Survey party. Captain George W.
Davis spends the first day testing the effects of tension on the
wire which is to be used in sounding the lake. The Watchman Peak
receives its name from the fact that “watchmen” were stationed
on its summit in order to determine the positions of the survey
Will Steel remembers the launching as: “On Saturday morning I
stood on a snow bank with a watch in my hand and every man in
his place. At exactly 8 o’clock I gave the word and all jumped
to their positions and the serious launching was underway. For
eight hours, without stopping to eat or otherwise, 16 men
labored with every nerve strained in an earnest desire to do his
best. Then we found ourselves at the foot of the canyon, with
the Cleetwood’s nose projecting over an embankment 10 feet high,
directly over the water, and not a foot of cable to be had. The
oars were secured in the boat, a man sat in the stern bracing
himself as best he could. With a single stroke the cable was
cut, the boat shot forward and down and the man gathered himself
up in the bow with blood upon his face and bruised all over, but
the happiest man in Oregon, for, had he not driven the mules
that drew the Cleetwood 100 miles into the mountains and
finished the trip on the water? We he the only many who ever
went from Ashland to Crater Lake by boat.”
A circuit is made of the lake. The survey crew spends noon at
Cleetwood Cove, and 2:00 p.m. at the Grotto
Sounding of the Lake commences. Topographer Mark B. Kerr works
on a map of the Lake and of the surrounding country. After 168
soundings are made, the maximum depth of the lake is determined
to be 1,996 feet. Dutton declares the Lake to be the deepest
lake in the country and the second deepest in the world.
William G. Steel names Dutton Cliff for Captain Clarence E.
Dutton. Captain Dutton had charge of the U.S. Geological Survey
crew, which made the first official survey of the Lake during
the summer of 1886. Kerr Notch is also named for Mark B. Kerr,
chief engineer for the Cleetwood expedition. Kerr, an
Englishman, pronounced his name, “CAR”.
Steel writes of his feelings of being at Crater Lake: “While at
the lake in 1885, I had a strong desire to go out upon its
surface under favorable circumstances, but had no boat. As soon
as they were launched in 1886, I began watching for a favorable
opportunity and about the time of the full moon I slipped out of
camp one night, pulled out near the center and stopped for an
observation. There was not a breath of air stirring and
reflections were as perfect as it could have been in a plate
glass mirror. The walls were clearly outlined above the water
and below were inverted, but just as clear. Upon yonder a full
moon floated in the air and down below it was just as clear and
beautiful. The North Star was clear above and below as were also
the Pleasides. The Milky Way seemed clearer below than above. I
was an atom in the center of an enormous sphere, looking up to
the starry heavens and looking down at its counter-part. The
shore line and its reflection appeared as a great knothole, with
creation above, the creation below. Did human eye behold such a
sight? Why should I be favored? God in His infinite mercy
permitted me to look out upon His glorious works as never man
did before. Why should I not be grateful?”
Senator Dolph and Representative Herman introduced identical
bills to set Crater Lake aside as a “Public Park”. The bills are
not reported out of committee.
Dutton and Steel complete their work at Crater Lake. Lake depth
determined finally at 2008 feet. Gaywas (Giowy’s) Rock named by
Applegate. Later changed to Skell Head.
Ten names are carved into a rock near the summit of Wizard
Island: Annie Shipley, E.V. Patterson, Sam Hodges, Maggie Linn,
Tom and Minnie Ross, R.E. Ross, E.R. Reames, Abe Ross, F. Lynn.