Resources 1984 – B. The Crater Lake National Park Company Takes Over Park Concessions

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

VII. Concessionaire Development of Visitor Services

B. The Crater Lake National Park Company Takes Over Park Concessions

By early July 1912 the new rim hotel was half finished. On August 6 the Crater Lake Company surrendered its contract and obtained a lease from the Secretary of the Interior for a term of twenty years, starting June 1, 1912. A picture of the lodge in the Oregonian (Portland) of September 7, 1913, shows the first-floor stone level completed. Construction progressed rapidly during the summer of 1914 and the lodge became about 95% complete. Parkhurst hoped to have carpenters finish the interior so that the lodge could open in the summer of 1915. The lodge formally opened on June 28, 1915. The building was described as

50 by 120 feet, four stories high and faces the lake, being only about 50 feet from the rim. On the first floor is the dining-room 30 by 40 feet, office and lobby 40 to [sic] 50 feet, reception room 30 by 40 feet, and a modern kitchen . There are large fireplaces in the lobby and dining-room, and there is also a fireplace on the outside of the building. There are 68 bedrooms on the other three floors and all modern improvements are provided. Water is brought from a spring a mile from the lodge. Besides the lodge there are floored tent accommodations at the rim for 100 persons. . . . [3]

From the beginning it was difficult to make the lodge a paying proposition. Steep prices for food and high employees’ salaries lessened profits considerably. This combined with short seasons and large crowds made it difficult for Parkhurst to bring the operation up to the standards he desired. Conditions ultimately became so unbearable due to overcrowding and bad management that the National Park Service decided that the public interest demanded aggressive action. In July 1920 Stephen T. Mather, director of the Service, announced that Parkhurst was being ousted from control of the lodge and the other tourist accommodations and had been ordered to release his concession within two weeks. After much discussion as to the proper course to follow on future management of the lodge, a new organization, the Crater Lake National Park Company, was formed in 1921, composed mostly of Portland businessmen.

The lodge was still considered incomplete at that time. A visitor remarked that the structure was a long, gray building of rustic design, with a first story of native stone and frame construction above. Inside was a great rustic lounge with a huge fireplace that could accommodate a six-foot log. The dining room was a huge apartment with ceiling and wainscoting of pine slabs covered with silver-gray bark. [4]

By the summer season of 1922 Crater Lake Lodge and the other concessions were completely owned by the Crater Lake National Park Company. This group also acquired Anna Spring Camp (old Camp Arant), with all associated buildings and outhouses; all property used in connection with the lodge, hotel, and camp; and the hotel, camp, and transportation concessions. On July 11 excavation commenced on a new $80,000 eight-room addition to the lodge, which upon completion would be used while the older section was reconstructed. The architectural style of the new wing closely followed the original lodge design, with stone foundations, stone blocks used for walls up to the second floor, and frame construction for the remainder.

 

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