Watchman – 13 Chronology

National Park Service Cultural Landscapes Inventory: The Watchman, Crater Lake National Park, 2001


Year Event Description

1886 AD Established A U.S. Geological Survey mapping party, including William Gladstone Steel, named Watchman Peak (8013’). While measuring the depth of the lake, engineers stationed on the summit watched for signals across the lake to position the boat on Crater Lake.
1916 AD Built A simple trail was aligned to ascend Watchman Peak. This trail was associated with Rim Road construction, but also viewed as a visitor amenity.
1917 AD Built A simple United States Forest Service cupolastyled fire lookout was constructed for fire-watch and educational purposes at the summit of Watchman Peak.
1926 AD Established Organized NPS interpretive/educational activities on Watchman Peak were conducted during summer.
1929 AD Established NPS Chief Naturalist Ansel F. Hall implemented an interpretive program with Crater Lake Ranger naturalists, trained in the natural sciences.
1929 AD Established Plans for expanded interpretive services at Crater Lake included a new Watchman Peak Trail and observation station. Objective of trail and structure was twofold: natural resource protection and education of park visitors.
1930 AD Established Site analysis of Watchman Peak included contour maps and drawings of observation station.
1930 AD Established The new trail and structure would embody Naturalistic and Rustic architectural principles of design, as stated in the Crater Lake General Development Plan.
1930 AD Established Observation station was to include a platform allowing park visitors to conveniently view surrounding region and a museum focusing on forest fire prevention education.
1930 AD Established Construction and development projects were placed in jeopardy due to the effects of the Great Depression.
1931 AD Established Planning and construction of Watchman Peak Trail and Watchman Observation Station was implemented.
1931 AD Built Temporary trail was aligned from Rim Road to Watchman Peak in order to construct the new observation station.
1931 AD Built Watchman Observation Station was completed on time for $5000.
1932 AD Built Third and final iteration of the Watchman Trail was completed to the standards of the Garfield Peak Trail for $1000.
1933 AD Established Official name of the structure was “Watchman Observation Station.”
1933 AD Established Watchman Observation Station officially opened on July 27, 1933.
1933 AD Established A Ranger-Naturalist was stationed at Watchman Observation Station for duty as a fire watch and interpretive tour guide.
1941 AD Established Watchman Trail was the second most used trail at Crater Lake behind Crater Wall Trail which went to the Crater Lake shore from Rim Village.
1942 – 1960 AD Established Watchman Trail and observation station were popular interpretive destinations for park visitors. The station remained as an important component of fire-prevention network in the Crater Lake area. Also, exibits were placed in museum and parapet.
1956 – 1966 AD Established Recreational development, focusing on winter sports, were proposed for Watchman.
1972 – 1973 AD Established Maintained Park visitors were to have personal contact with an on-site interpreter at Watchman Observation Station, according to 1972 Interpretive Plan. Extension of observation platform was built to improve visitor experience at Crater Lake.
1980 – 1990 AD Established Watchman Observation Station fell into disrepair. Some repairs to the structure were made in 1986.
1990 – 2000 AD Established $435,000 of Fee Demo monies was earmarked for Watchman Observation Station’s rehabilitation. Work is incomplete by 2002.
2002 AD Established $20,000 was earmarked for Watchman Trail’s repair.


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