Historic Resource Study, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, 1984
VII. Concessionaire Development of Visitor Services
E. Importance of Crater Lake Lodge
The encouragement of tourism in national parks was a logical step after their establishment. The greater the visitation, the more income would be generated for the region in which the park was located. Tourism provided a solid economic justification for designating more parks in the future. Congress s earliest acts relating to parks included provisions for granting franchises for concession purposes to private concerns to erect hotels, install transportation systems, and provide other recreational service facilities. In the case of several national parks, facilities were established by railroads, which by offering cheap travel rates and pleasant accommodations for their passengers, greatly encouraged use of parklands. The situation at Crater Lake was somewhat unusual in that the recreational aspects of its development were initiated by private enterprise, first by individuals and then by a corporation of businessmen.
Crater Lake Lodge was built in accord with the concept that governed the style of tourist accommodations in our early national parks, which advocated spacious resort hotels that blended rustic simplicity with elements of the elegance inspired by European hunting lodges and the hunting camps of the Eastern United States.
Crater Lake Lodge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in May 1981. It was included as being regionally significant as an example of the architecture associated with the early-twentieth-century movement for development of the western national parks. Much of the structure’s appeal and importance is due to its being a relatively unaltered example of an early national park resort-type guest accommodation. Its exterior appearance and ground floor public areas have not changed substantially since the 1920s. It is an early example of the use of native materials in an attempt to blend the structure more harmoniously into its surroundings. This was done prior to implementation of the National Park Service rustic architecture program in the park. The building has exceptional significance in the development of tourism and outdoor recreation in the state because it encouraged visitor use of the park and strengthened the economy of southern Oregon. The lodge is the oldest major resort on public land in the state. Although the various concession operations at Crater Lake have had extreme difficulty in surmounting such hardships as severe weather conditions, a short tourist season, distance from supply centers, and high visitation, the lodge has been kept open through the years and is a nostalgic part of the Crater Lake landscape.