The Rustic Landscape of Rim Village, 1927-1941
Prior to implementation of the master plans for Rim Village, the landscape between the lodge and the new entry road was barren and devoid of vegetation. In addition to a predominance of infertile pumice soils, volcanic dust, and sand, the area had been impacted over many years by unrestricted circulation and intense visitor use, resulting in what was described as an “unattractive sand waste.” The goal of the landscape architects during the initial implementation of the general development plan was to restore the landscape to its “original beauty,” and develop the site so that it could accommodate visitors safely and without further damage to the landscape. This program of landscape restoration and enhancement was called naturalization. In terms of design and composition, three different planting treatments were commonly used at Rim Village:
new plantings — establishing vegetation where none existed;
supplemental plantings — adding materials to “fill-out” areas for design or functional purposes; and
integrated plantings — using vegetation to blend introduced features such as buildings and roads with the surrounding landscape.
All three treatments reflect basic principles and expressions of the Rustic style. For example, new plantings along the linear strip between the Rim Village Road and the caldera were designed to recreate a “natural looking landscape” — a concept drawn from looking at areas adjacent to Rim Village such as Sun Notch, where natural meadows were broken by small groupings of trees and shrubs. At the rim, recreating this image, in addition to the goal of maintaining views from the road to the lake, led to the development of several small planting beds placed along the entire length of the rim. Trees were planted in clusters and grouped to lend variety in the landscape, but not planted dense enough to obstruct views. Shrubs and herbaceous materials were added to reflect natural associations and plant communities, and sod was transplanted from other areas in the park to provide the appropriate ground cover.
In the summer of 1929, work was underway on the landscape restoration at Rim Village, including large-scale replacement and amendment of infertile soils, the development of test plots, and general clean-up from previous construction.
Nineteen-thirty marked the first full year of planting and naturalization at Rim Village. Eight shrub beds were laid out, starting at the head of the Crater Wall Trail and moving east. Ninety hemlocks, 15 fir trees, and 300 deciduous shrubs were planted in this first season (see Plant Materials, section B, below). In addition to the work at the rim, 27 trees, 5 to 15 feet in height, were root-pruned, dug, and boxed for transplanting the following year.