21 Structures – Buildings

The Rustic Landscape of Rim Village, 1927-1941





Between 1927 and 1941 there were six primary buildings at Rim Village and between twenty-two and thirty-four secondary structures including comfort stations, sleeping cabins, tent cabins, and service-related buildings. Three of the six primary buildings — the Crater Lake Lodge, the Kiser Studio, and the Community House — were all constructed prior to 1927 by the concessioner and the NPS. The Cafeteria (1928), the Sinnott Memorial (1931), and the comfort station next to the plaza (1938) were developed under the supervision of NPS designers and represent better examples of the Rustic style as applied at Rim Village. All six primary buildings are described below, followed by a discussion of secondary structures, some of which are no longer extant.

Crater Lake Lodge Construction of Crater Lake Lodge began in 1909, on a slope at the east end of Rim Village overlooking the lake. As designed, it was the primary facility on the rim to provide accommodations and meals for park visitors. Construction was slow, however, and despite its unfinished state, the lodge formally opened to the public in 1915. In 1922, an addition was built on the west end of the building, nearly doubling its size. For the most part, the new annex closely followed the design and material composition of the original structure. The Crater Lake Lodge is irregular in shape, comprised of a series of 6 rectangular blocks, connected to form a slight crescent shape. The roof is punctuated by numerous shed roof dormers giving visual interest to the wood shingled jerkin-head roofline. Native stone faces the lower portion of the lodge and wood shingles sheath the upper walls. Further visual interest is supplied by the massive exterior stone chimneys on the east and south; overhanging, bracketed eaves; numerous arched windows with stone lintels on the lower story; and multi-paned windows. Exterior alterations to the historic lodge since 1922 have been minimal. The addition of fire escapes and the enclosure of the main entry (from paired doors to one door) are the primary changes.
Sinnott Memorial The Sinnott Memorial was constructed in 1931 under the supervision of the NPS Landscape Division. Built as a memorial to an Oregon congressman, it functioned as an interpretive center and exhibit building, an educational center, and an observation point for park visitors. It was the first structure in the park to use massive stone masonry construction, and was considered an excellent example of the Rustic style of design, setting the tone for all future structures built in the park. The Sinnott Memorial is an irregularly-shaped stone and concrete structure built into a rock outcrop on the slope of the caldera about 50 feet below the rim. Access to the building is via a moderately steep walkway with steps. The building is entered through an elliptically-shaped “observation room” on the north side of the structure. A 30-inch tall stone parapet below a large opening offers unobstructed views to the lake. The original asphalt-treated flat roof was rebuilt in the 1930s with heavy asphalt and lead flashing to stop leaking. Exterior walls are load-bearing native stone, pierced on the east side by a square window opening and a door leading from the museum to the exterior stairs (shielded from view by a massive stone wall). Double-glazed, tongue-and-groove doors are located on the west end of the observation room. Alterations to the Sinnott Memorial have not compromised its rustic character. The most noticeable change was the addition of flagstone paving to the interior (and probably the exterior entry patio) in 1961.
Plaza Comfort Station This small comfort station was constructed under the guidance of an NPS landscape architect using CCC crews. Begun in 1937 and finished the following year, this structure was the last Rustic style building constructed at Rim Village. Sited against the forest edge at the east end of the cafeteria plaza, the building is a one-story, rectangular, wood-frame structure with massive native stones applied to the exterior. Horizontal wood siding is used above the stonework on the gable ends of the building. The wood-shake gable roof has extended eaves and exposed rafter ends. Doors centered on the gable ends and bands of windows on the north and south punctuate the building’s rock walls. Major alterations to the original structure include the removal of a central stone chimney and lattice privacy fences from the north and south sides; the removal and replacement of the original square multi-light hopper windows; and the addition of a door to the west elevation.
Community House The Community House was originally built to provide park visitors with a place for evening activities and informal gatherings. It has also served as a headquarters for the park naturalist, and as a museum. Erected in 1924 following NPS architects’ designs, the Community House is a one-story, rectangular, wood-frame structure set against a backdrop of mature evergreens in the northwest area of the former campground. Originally, the steeply pitched, wood-shingled gable roof sloped down to the north to form a full-length porch overhang supported by peeled log columns. This porch roof has been removed and the log supports are gone. Centered on the north roof slope is a shed roof dormer with multi-paned windows. Originally sheathed in wood shingles, the building is now sided with horizontal wood boards (shingles are extant in the dormer). The historic entry and primary facade had a pair of ten-light french doors centered on the north wall, flanked by pairs of multi-paned casement windows. The windows remain intact but the original doors were replaced by a pair of eight-light doors. An exterior massive chimney, “battered” in form and built of random coursed stone, rises on the east elevation.
Kiser Studio Fred Kiser, a nationally recognized scenic artist known for his hand-colored photographs, built this structure in 1921 to serve as his southern Oregon headquarters, studio, and salesroom for his work and photographic supplies. Kiser built a one-story, rectangular, stone and wood structure near the edge of the caldera wall, west of the lodge. Five years later, he built a large addition perpendicular to the edge of the caldera wall. Uncoursed stone walls (both veneer and load-bearing) with board and batten siding above the stonework on the gable ends was incorporated into the addition to match the original building. Wood shingles covered the gable roofs of both the original section and the addition, and overhanging eaves were supported by exposed, peeled log purlins. Multi-paned sliding windows were used on all elevations of the Studio. The south facade had a simple, peeled log pergola over the entry. A more elaborate pergola, rustic in character with peeled log supports resting on stone piers on a stone terrace, was added early to the building’s north elevation, enhancing a visitor’s entry experience. After 1930, the NPS converted the building into an information office, exhibit building, and Rim Village visitor contact station. Alterations to the Kiser Studio include the removal of the pergolas, the covering of the log purlins, the replacement and removal of some of the original windows, and the replacement of the original sheathing with horizontal board siding.
Cafeteria Building In 1928, the concessioner completed the latest addition to Rim Village — a cafeteria and supply store for park visitors. Following NPS designs, the Crater Lake National Park Company erected a rustic stone building, 1-1/2 stories in height, rectangular in shape with a rectangular service ell on the south, and sited several hundred feet south of the caldera edge, oriented towards the lake. Stones similar in size and color to those used in the Kiser Studio were used on the exterior walls of the building. Board and batten siding was used above on the gable ends. The steeply-pitched gable roof was covered with wood shingles. On the primary facade, a recessed central entry with peeled log supports was flanked by two pairs of multi-paned casement windows. Other multi-paned windows placed throughout the structure further punctuated the stone and wood surfaces of the building. The Cafeteria retained its historic appearance until 1955, when a ski warming hut was added onto the structure. This addition was followed by a series of other extensions in the 1970s that increased the size of the historic building threefold.
Secondary Buildings Comfort stations comprise the majority of these buildings at Rim Village. The oldest comfort station standing (No. 2) is, located in the former campground area, southeast of the Community House. This building is T-shaped, one-story in height, and sited amidst the tall evergreens of the campground area. The wood-frame building was sided in vertical boards which, in turn, were covered with a rustic veneer of stained logs applied in “stickwork” fashion to define entries and window openings. The intersecting gable roofs were sheathed in wood shakes and had slightly extended eaves with exposed round log rafters and purlins. In later years, the rustic motifs were removed and the comfort station received new horizontal board siding.Comfort stations Nos. 1 and 3 were built c. 1931 and were more simple in nature. Both were one-story, rectangular, wood-frame buildings sheathed in horizontal board siding. To give the buildings a rustic character, cut logs were applied as a veneer to the structures’ corners and around door and window openings. Steeply-pitched gable roofs were covered in randomly-coursed wood shakes. Multi-paned sliding windows enhanced the picturesqueness of the buildings. In later years, the rustic motifs were removed and the roofs covered with corrugated metal roofing material.

Comfort station No. 4, located directly behind the Cafeteria, was designed and built by the NPS in 1931, following rustic design principles employed elsewhere at Rim Village. The comfort station as designed was a wood-frame building, rectangular in shape, and 1-1/2 stories in height. Large stones applied in a “battered” fashion were used as a veneer to encase the building. Board and batten siding was used above the stone at the gable ends. The steeply-pitched gable roof was covered in wood shakes. Original windows were bands of square, four-light windows on the east and west elevations. Central doors were placed on both the north and south elevations, providing access to the women’s and men’s restrooms, respectively. From its appearance this structure may have served as the prototype for the Plaza Comfort Station, which was built in 1938. Alterations to the structure were undertaken c.1971 when the function of the building changed from a comfort station to an electrical transformer vault. Changes included the removal of most windows and filling the openings with concrete blocks finished with plywood. One of the two original entry doors remains intact.

The housekeeping units known as the Coldwater Cabins were built by the park concessioner beginning in 1928 to provide the growing number of park visitors with overnight accommodations. Twenty-two cabins were eventually built. The cabins were sited southwest of the Cafeteria, clustered together around an access road against a backdrop of evergreens. For the most part, the cabins were oriented toward the lake. Small in scale, these wood-frame, rectangular buildings were one-story in height and sheathed in horizontal boards halfway up the wall, with board and batten siding above. The gable roofs were covered in wood shakes and slightly extended eaves exposed the cabins’ rafter ends. Doors with a Stick style pattern of applied battens were centrally located on gable end elevations. Poor quality construction initially, and subsequent years of neglect, resulted in the removal of these cabins in 1986.

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