Resources 1984 – X. Construction of Buildings and Landscaping in Crater Lake A. Functionalism Dictates Styles at Annie Spring Camp

Historic Resource Study, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, 1984

 X. Construction of Government Buildings and Landscaping in Crater Lake National Park

A. Functionalism Dictates Building Styles at Annie (Anna) Spring Camp

Soon after W.F. Arant was appointed superintendent of Crater Lake National Park in September 1902, he wrote the secretary of the interior that he had established his headquarters at “Bridge Creek Springs,” about six miles from the rim. [1] He might have been referring to the area at the head of Annie Creek, about five miles south of the lake at the intersection of the Medford and Klamath Falls wagon roads, where he definitely had his headquarters by 1903 or 1904. During the winters in the early 1900s he moved the headquarters from this site to a ranch (“the Boothby Place”) near Klamath Falls. [2]

In 1905 construction began on an office and dwelling for the superintendent at Camp Arant at Annie Spring, and Arant anticipated moving from his tents into the new quarters in September 1906. [3] This was the first building to be constructed within the park. (A park scrapbook states that the superintendent’s residence at Annie Spring was built in 1910, after the ranger’s cabin and office building, but this appears to be an error.) The new residence was a square, frame, two-story building with a hip roof, containing seven rooms, and as late as 1946 was being used as a way station to Crater Lake on patrol and snow survey trips during the winter. [4] Because water was plentiful there and tents could be set up before the snow had melted on the rim of the caldera, Will Steel decided to establish the main Crater Lake camp in this area also. A large substantial cabin was planned where meals would be served and small parties could acquire lodging. [5] A 1909 news article describing a heavy snowfall at the lake reported that practically all of the heavy timber structures at Camp Arant were rumored to have collapsed under twenty-five feet of snow. The buildings included a residence, barn, shop and tool shed, and several smaller buildings including a log cook house (probably Steel’s cabin). [6]

Buildings at Camp Arant in 1913 included two cottages, which during the season were occupied by the park ranger and his family and per diem employees; a shop and tool house; and a barn 24 x 48 x 20 feet. [7] In his annual report for 1913 the superintendent mentioned moving a small cottage to the main road during the past season and remodeling it for use as an office. Previous to this a small room in his house 200 feet from the road had been used for this purpose. The front room of the new office was used by the chief ranger to register visitors and issue licenses, the back room was used by Arant, and the upstairs was used for storing supplies, as sleeping quarters for employees, or for emergency purposes. [8]


Illustration 27. Administration building and superintendent’s residence, Anna Spring Camp, ca. 1917? Courtesy Southern Oregon Historical Society.

The name “Camp Arant” was officially changed by the Interior Department to “Anna Spring Camp” in 1915. During that same year, problems of overcrowding were becoming apparent. The 1915 annual report of the superintendent of Crater Lake National Park to the secretary of the interior presented the following description of the park “headquarters” building and made a strong recommendation for new facilities:

The park office has entirely outgrown its usefulness, in that it is totally inadequate for the purpose. The park office proper and the post office are located in a little room 8 by 12 feet, into which at times 40 and 50 people try to crowd and transact business. When the mail arrives on busy days it is simply a physical impossibility to transact business expeditiously or at all satisfactorily either to the public or the employees.

A new modern building should be provided, as soon as possible, of sufficient capacity to meet all requirements for many years to come. The business is increasing rapidly and facilities for the systematic handling of it should keep pace therewith. Aside from convenient facilities for handling a greatly increased business, provision should be made for the public in the way of toilets, waiting rooms, and other comforts and conveniences. [9]

In 1916 an employee s seasonal residence was built at Annie Spring. (This two-story, nine-room frame structure was razed in 1953.) By that time it had been recognized that the Anna Spring Camp was

the most practicable place at which to Locate the government headquarters and to establish a small village consisting of a few stores and supply stations. It is not, however, at the rim of the crater and therefore could never, under any circumstances, be a place where tourists would be content to stay, for there is ever the mountain top with the lake beyond beckoning the traveler to the goal of his pilgrimage. [10]

In 1916 a participant in an auto trip to Crater Lake and other points of interest in southern Oregon mentions entering upon the government highway a few miles beyond Union Creek. Beside it, about five miles southwest of the lake, was the administrative center, consisting of the superintendent’s office; the post office, established in 1905; and other structures, where all visitors had to register and where auto drivers had to procure a license. Three miles farther on was the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers camp on the rim road, “a collection of log buildings with steep roofs, snug and comfortable looking. . . .” [11] This camp had been built by the War Department in 1913-14 and consisted of an office, shelter cabin, warehouse, and mess hall.

By 1917 the settlement around the Anna Spring Camp checking station consisted of three major wooden structures: the checking or administration building, the superintendent’s residence, and the ranger’s cabin. Also in this year it was reported that a contract had been awarded for the construction of two log lodge-like buildings in the park, each 16 x 24 feet, one to be placed in the Whitehorse area at the Medford entrance to the park and the other at the Pinnacles of Sand Creek to register visitors and check autos (Illustration 28). [12] These structures were part of a small building program carried on with funds authorized before creation of the National Park Service. Their appearance suggests that an individual sensitive to the environment helped design them. In 1918 an employee garage for private vehicles was built at Anna Spring Camp. It was a one-story, three-room frame structure that has since been razed. While the earliest buildings in the park were not particularly attractive, during the 1920s an attempt was made to plan the design and location of structures more carefully.


Illustration 28. Ranger cabin, Medford entrance. One of two ranger cabins erected at Crater Lake about 1917. Formally-styled, it closely resembles later rustic-styled park structures: “The highly stylized appearance of the two Crater Lake cabins suggests, that either a landscape architect or an architect sensitive to the environment played a role in the buildings’ design.” (Tweed, National Park Service Rustic Architecture, p. 23). Photo courtesy Oregon Historical Society.

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