31 Construction Technologies – Stonework

The Rustic Landscape of Rim Village, 1927-1941



Construction Technologies


Buildings (also see Appendix B) Stone for the buildings at Rim Village were collected from different areas in the park, although the majority of stone came from The Watchman. Material for the initial construction of Crater Lake Lodge and other early structures at the rim was collected (not necessarily quarried) from the area around Garfield Peak. Other early structures, including the Kiser Studio, and a comfort station near the lodge, were also constructed using stone that was similar in scale and dimension to the early lodge prototype. Stone for later structures, constructed with some assistance and/or input from NPS designers, including the lodge’s annex, the Cafeteria, and the nearby comfort station, was quarried from an area along the rim road. As others have indicated, the “true expression” of the Rustic, as reflected in the material composition of the stone structures, can more readily be seen in the construction and stylistic elements of other buildings at the rim, particularly the Sinnott Memorial and the Plaza Comfort Station. In these structures, very large or “oversized” and untrimmed boulders were used to give a sense of scale, texture, and dimension to the building. Stones were placed to give the appearance of a rounded or curved facade, which made the building blend into the natural setting and appear to fit the terrain far better than the straight line of the building wall. The largest stones were placed near the base of the structure and the walls were “battered” using smaller stones toward the top. During construction, the work was constantly inspected to ensure that the size, color, and form of individual stones was appropriate and well-matched throughout.
Rock Walls Stone for the parapet along the caldera, for the three observation bays, and for the steps around the lodge and in front of the cafeteria plaza, was obtained from various parts of the park. Using a hoist, it was loaded into trucks and hauled to the site. Once at the site each stone was cut and trimmed by masons to the proper size and shape. Prior to actual construction of the parapet, sample sections of wall — about 6 feet in length — were constructed to test for visual quality and drainage. A great amount of attention was given to the visual quality of these walls and it was not uncommon for stones to be trimmed after being set, in order to conform to the rest of the wall.
Curbing Stone for the curbing at Rim Village was quarried from the north slope of The Watchman during the summer of 1932. The stone was selected because it was “close to the road and splits better than any stone in the park.” Unlike stone work for the parapet wall, all stone for the curbing was prepared at the quarry site. A compressor, along with “plug and feather drills,” were used to split the stones into suitable sizes. Each curb stone was 8 to 9 inches across the top and approximately 24 inches deep. The length of an individual stone varied between 32 and 84 inches. The top and upper 10 to 12 inches of the front face of the curb stone was then dressed and trimmed by hand before being loaded into a truck for hauling to the rim. At the site, a mason with two helpers set each stone in place, allowing about 9 inches of the face to sit above grade. Careful attention was given to the precise line and grade along the edge, and all joints were secured and filled with mortar.

<< previousnext >>