Superintendents – Elbert C. Solinsky, 1929 – 1934

Elbert C. Solinsky

Succeeding Thomson as superintendent was Elbert C. Solinsky who served from February 15, 1929, to September 1, 1934. Solinsky was born in the mountains of California and his childhood was spent in an environment of lumbering and mining around Mokelumne Hill, a small mining town on the western slope of the Sierra Nevadas. He attended Berkeley High School and the University of California where he studied mining engineering and played football for two years. In 1915 he was employed at Yosemite National Park, supervising all timber operations in the park and serving as representative of the government’s interests on the Hetch Hetchy water and power project. As assistant to the Yosemite superintendent from 1926-29, he supervised protection and control of the park forests and maintenance and development of roads, trails, and park facilities.

Prior to offering Solinsky the position at Crater Lake, NPS Director Horace M. Albright described the type of person needed as superintendent of the park in a memorandum to Secretary of the Interior Roy 0. West. He stated:

The position of the Crater Lake Park Superintendent carries a salary of $5,800, less $300 for quarters. The position is very important because it is the only executive position in the park. There is no assistant superintendent and no resident engineer. Unless a National Park Service man is promoted to the position from another park, there can be no assurance that the work will be done satisfactorily, particularly the first year. Mr. Solinsky can do this.

The park is located on the summit of the Cascade Mountains. The snowfall is very deep. It is a terrific task to open the roads and trails even by the first of July. The superintendent should have experience in snow removal, repair and upkeep of roads and trails, and must be capable of selecting good men and holding them. He should also have experience in overhauling equipment, purchasing and handling Government supplies and materials and using them efficiently and economically.

Albright believed that Solinsky was the best qualified candidate for the position. On February 7, 1929, the director congratulated the new superintendent on his appointment:

This position comes to you because it was believed by the Washington Officers of the Service and by the Secretary that it would be in the interest of the Service to promote you from your present position to the grade of Superintendent. Your work at Yosemite Park as a forester, and later as Assistant to the Superintendent, has demonstrated that you have executive ability of a very high order and I have no doubt of your success at Crater Lake.

You understand, of course, that the responsibilities of the position are heavy. In the State of Oregon you will be the representative of the National Park Service and the personal spokesman of the Director. It will be necessary for you to exercise at all times the utmost tact and good judgment and every official act must be in harmony with National Park Service policies.

We shall expect you to make public contacts throughout the State. We shall expect you to identify yourself with such organizations in Medford as are open to you, and we hope that as a personal matter you will want to use your official position and your home to make friends for the National Park Service and for the Department of the Interior. We know that in Yosemite it was the disposition of Mrs. Solinsky and yourself to work along these lines and you did so with consummate success. I have no doubt that your personality and the hospitality of your home were taken into consideration, with your executive ability, in judging your qualifications for the Crater Lake superintendency.

Solinsky was dismissed as superintendent on August 30, 1934, after an investigation by the Division of Investigation created by Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes disclosed misappropriation of funds and irregularities in park accounts. [Administrative History of Crater Lake NP]

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