15 Criterion B:

Cultural Landscape Recommendations: Park Headquarters at Munson Valley, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon


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The comprehensive expression of Rustic architecture and naturalistic design principles at Munson Valley is in large part due to the early site planning and design development directed by three NPS landscape architects, Thomas Vint, Merel Sager and Francis Lange. Under Vint’s direction and influence as chief landscape architect, the Rustic Style and its associated design ethic was brought into national parks throughout the system. Vint was specifically responsible for planning the developed areas in the western national parks and monuments. At Munson Valley early development of Rustic architecture is demonstrated by the extant warehouse, constructed as a result of Vint’s 1925 plan for a summer headquarters.

Vint hired Merel Sager to prepare and implement NPS plans for western parks, including Sequoia, Lassen and Crater Lake National Parks. Incorporating the tenets of the Rustic Style, Sager coordinated and directed the construction of large developments at Rim Village and Park Headquarters. Massive boulder construction of headquarters structures characterize the work of Sager, who also oversaw the revegetation and siting of structures and trails. Sager’s work provides a design link between developed areas within the park and other parks in the region, including Oregon Caves National Monument. After Sager’s direct supervision of Crater Lake construction ceased, his National Park Service career (1928-1953) included a term as chief of Park Planning in National Capitol Parks and as chief landscape architect for the overall park system.

Francis Lange, who began as Sager’s assistant and continued as resident landscape architect in the park from 1934 to 1940, had significant impact on the appearance of Park Headquarters. Using PWA and CCC workers, Lange continued the planting program implemented by Sager; designed detail site features and most of the site’s now non-extant rustic signs; and began efforts to better adapt Munson Valley structures to winter conditions. Under Lange’s direction the designed landscape of Munson Valley Historic District was virtually completed.