Historic Resource Study, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, 1984
VII. Concessionaire Development of Visitor Services
D. The National Park Service Purchases the Lodge and Ponders Its Future
In 1954 R. W. Price, after over thirty years at Crater Lake, sold his interest in the lodge to Harry W. and Harry C. Smith of Spokane, Washington. During the next three years certain refinements in lodge accommodations were made and more modern facilities at the rim were planned. Among improvements made were a new cafeteria addition, completed in 1956. By 1957 the lodge had 114 rooms and was able to accommodate 294 people, including about 90 employees. Other facilities at the rim included eight deluxe cottage units and nineteen cold water cabins. The operating concession again changed hands in 1959; the National Park Service finally purchased the lodge from the concessionaires in 1967 and drew up a thirty-year contract with them. On March 1, 1976, Canteen Company of Oregon bought the concession, which it still operates.
Through the years the National Park Service has made repeated demands for improved visitor services and fire safety facilities at Crater Lake Lodge, and although some minimal efforts were made to comply, concerns for visitor and employee safety continued to plague park management. A 1980 General Accounting Office report on facilities at several national parks and forests throughout the nation pointed out many problems with the lodge in terms of deficiencies in safety standards. This report coincided with a series of public meetings in the state soliciting comments on alternatives to assist the Park Service in determining the future of the lodge. Major problems of the building are structural, resulting from age, the use of poor construction techniques as it was being built, and severe impacts from weather over the years. Problems in regard to fire safety and reinforcement of the building’s structural elements must be addressed. Several options for development of the rim area are now under study by the Service, with interim life safety measures being taken to keep the lodge in operation.