Resources 1984 – K. Important Additions to Headquarters Complex in 1932

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

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


K. Important Additions to Headquarters Complex in 1932

By 1932 no administration building per se had yet been provided for the park. Up to 1924 the administrative office had been located in an old two-room ranger station on the Annie Spring plaza. In that year the office was moved to park headquarters into an old log bunkhouse erected about 1912 by army engineers engaged in road work. This building was a temporary structure to house road gangs, but lack of appropriations had compelled its conversion to office purposes by the addition of a small log wing in 1925. Besides being too small, “it is dark, cold, drafty, dirty and verminous and . . . a disgrace to the Government.” [39] In 1933 $18,000 was alotted for the erection of a new building, but not until the spring of 1934 was the old log Administration Building razed so that construction could begin on the new one. [40]

As stated earlier, Merel Sager intended that all the service, visitor facility, and residential structures at Crater Lake share certain common features, primarily stone masonry walls that provided good insulation and steeply pitched shingle roofs. The roofs not only blended in with the surrounding tall forest but also shed snow more easily. The use of large native stones in construction required detailed planning and the work was carried out in accordance with strict guidelines in order to achieve the desired effect. A variety of rockwork, of the proper scale, Lent interest and pleasing patterns. Bedding planes were made horizontal rather than vertical. Informality was achieved by laying the rocks in uneven courses. Larger rocks were used near the base of a structure but sometimes appeared in the upper portions, so that a variety of sizes was common to the whole surface. When logs were used, their bark was removed, both because it tended to come off anyway in time and because when Left on, the wood was subject to deterioration through insects and rot. Heavy roofs were needed to balance the look of the heavy rock walls; thick wooden shingles or shakes created a feeling of weight and durability. [41]

The use of very large wall stones, some of which in the government headquarters buildings were fifteen cubic feet in volume, required new building techniques:

First, a wooden formwork outlining the interior surface of the outside walls was erected atop a concrete and stone foundation. This form was sufficiently sturdy to support the frame of the second floor roof gable. While the second floor was being constructed, work went forward on the masonry walls. One by one, massive boulders weighing hundreds of pounds each were lifted into place, leaving a space of a few inches between the back of the stones and the wooden formwork. This space was filled with concrete. After the masonry had been completed, the interior form was removed, leaving behind a smooth interior concrete wall finish with nailing strips imbedded within it. When the interior formwork was removed, the weight of the second story and roof was transferred to the masonry walls. [42]

Some of the irregular stones near the bottoms of the walls were five feet across, and smaller ones near the tops of the walls often measured two to three feet in diameter.


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