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Smith Brothers' Chronological History of Crater Lake National Park



<< 1902   1903   1904 >>

May 5

John Muir sends a “thank you” to Will Steel for his kind invitation to visit Crater Lake, but is unable to make the visit because of plans to travel to Russia.

July 13 1903 and concludes on September 25, 1903

A general Park survey begins under the direction of Carl R. Caudle, U.S. Examines of Surveys of the General Land Office. Deer and bear are found in small numbers during the summer months. Several cabins are found that were built by homesteaders along Sun Creek and one trapper’s cabin is found at the head waters of the Rogue River. A cabin was built at the 10.5 mile monument on the South Boundary.

July 16

Park Headquarters located at Annie (Anna) Springs.

July 17

Construction of the new Anna Springs to Rim road begins. The bridge over Anna Springs is 30 feet high, 104 feet long, and 14 feet wide with seven spans.


Superintendent Arant is in critical condition with internal injuries after a 16 foot plunge through the planking of the new Anna Creek Bridge.

August 5 - 15

Steel brings 27 people to Crater Lake from Medford. This is the first attempt to provide visitor services at the Lake. The group had begun at Union Station in Portland and traveled by train to Medford. A large crowd of locals welcomed the group as their wagon train set off for their camping rendezvous at Eagle Point. The group spends five days traveling to Crater Lake. The boat, the Start, a 16 foot skiff built in Klamath Falls and launched for the auspicious group’s exclusive use is used to ferry members of the group out to Wizard Island and over to Cloud Cap.. After spending ten days visiting points of interest in and around the Park, including photographing the Lake, and stopping off at old Fort Klamath, the group broke up at Ashland.

August 11

Fred and Oscar Kiser and Will Steel lower a 16 foot boat over the rim wall in order to take photographs of the Lake. The Kisers paddle across the lake to Pumice Castle area and climb the East Rim, accompanied by Helen Akin and Gertrude Metcalf. They become the first women to climb Mt. Scott. The first Lake photographs of the Lake are taken from Mt. Scott. The whole Lake had never been captured on one photo plate before, which the Kisers felt was a remarkable accomplishment.


Fred Kiser of Portland (Scenic America Co.) produces the first hand colored photos of Crater Lake. The pictures are subjected to ridicule, for no water was believed to be so blue.

There are practically no roads inside the Park, except for the old Fort Klamath-Medford road, constructed by the soldiers of the Fort. Travel to the Lake is entirely by trail. Between 1903 and 1912, a narrow, steep and tortuous road is constructed to the Rim of the Lake by the Interior Department.

Governor’s Bay is named by Will Steel for the Hon. T. T. Geer, the first governor of Oregon to see the lake.


Joaquin Miller, Poet Laureate of Oregon, spends several days camping on the Rim. Miller writes the “Sea of Silence”...””The lake took such hold of my heart, unlike other parks...I love it almost like one of my family.”


Prior access to the Lake was gained by using the old Fort Klamath Military Road (Hwy 62) which forked 1/2 mile west of the Cascade Divide (Pacific Crest Trail crossing) and following what is now known as the Dutton Creek Trail. The early trail was built in 1869 by the Jim Sutton Party of Jacksonville, when they brought the first wagons to the Rim.

1903 Season


Visitation for the year estimated at 1200 visitors. 4000 head of cattle are transported through the Park. Superintendent’s salary set at $1,000, with the Park’s total budget at $6,695.



<< 1902   1903   1904 >>


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