Smith Brothers 1886

“I met Judge John B. Waldo, who asked me why I did not apply (for National Park protection) for the entire Cascade range. Taking it as irony, I made a factitious reply, which he assured me that he was in dead earnest and asked me to call at his office, which I did. We talked the matter over at considerable length and I was deeply impressed with his knowledge of the situation and the value of such a move. (From this meeting came the movement to protect the Cascade Reserves which today are known as the National Forests.)

January 18
Senator J.N. Dolph introduces legislation in Congress to set aside Crater Lake as a National Park.

January 21
The Hon. Binger Herman introduces a bill in Congress to set Crater Lake and five townships aside as a public park. Senator Dolph’s “state park” bill passes the Senate, again in 1888, again in 1890 and also in 1892. The legislation is defeated each time in the House of Representative.

January 22
President Cleveland signs a presidential proclamation withdrawing from settlement 50 section of public domain including diamond Lake and Mt. Thielsen, but the proclamation leaves out the east rim of the lake and Cloud Cap, due to a survey error that is later corrected.

July 4
Steel’s “Cleetwood” Party leaves Portland by train headed toward Crater Lake. Captain Dutton and ten soldiers arrive in Ashland to begin loading the Cleetwood boat off of its railroad car.

July 7
Steel picks up his boat, the Cleetwood and makes final preparations for the Lake’s exploration. Steel soon leaves Ashland with 35 men and 65 horses and mules and the 26 foot Cleetwood, and two skiffs for a difficult 85 mile trip through the mountains to Crater Lake.

July 9
From the ROGUE COURIER, “Three boats for Crater Lake, furnished by the government, passed up on a freight a few days ago.”

July 13
The Cleetwood Party and Will Steel reach foot of grade leading to Crater Lake.

July 14
Steel’s party begins ascent to lake, arriving on the Rim at 10:00 a.m.

July 15
The launching of the boats commences. The first skiff is lowered into the Lake at 3:00 p.m. and the second by 6:00 p.m.

July 16
Final preparations are made for lowering the Cleetwood.

July 17
At 7:30 a.m., the Cleetwood begins its decent behind the present Lodge, on Garfield Trail. Fifteen men work 8 hours to launch the boat. Wizard Island is visited by both the Cleetwood and the two skiffs. The lowering of the Cleetwood: Weighed 900 pounds and was 26 feet long, constructed of spruce and ash. Cleetwood Canyon, located behind the present Lodge, was named by William Steel because this was the location where the Cleetwood was slid down to the Lake. With the launching of the Cleetwood, soundings of the lake are begun under the direction of Captain Clarence E. Dutton, chief of the Geological Survey party. Captain George W. Davis spends the first day testing the effects of tension on the wire which is to be used in sounding the lake. The Watchman Peak receives its name from the fact that “watchmen” were stationed on its summit in order to determine the positions of the survey boats.

Will Steel remembers the launching as: “On Saturday morning I stood on a snow bank with a watch in my hand and every man in his place. At exactly 8 o’clock I gave the word and all jumped to their positions and the serious launching was underway. For eight hours, without stopping to eat or otherwise, 16 men labored with every nerve strained in an earnest desire to do his best. Then we found ourselves at the foot of the canyon, with the Cleetwood’s nose projecting over an embankment 10 feet high, directly over the water, and not a foot of cable to be had. The oars were secured in the boat, a man sat in the stern bracing himself as best he could. With a single stroke the cable was cut, the boat shot forward and down and the man gathered himself up in the bow with blood upon his face and bruised all over, but the happiest man in Oregon, for, had he not driven the mules that drew the Cleetwood 100 miles into the mountains and finished the trip on the water? We he the only many who ever went from Ashland to Crater Lake by boat.”

July 18
A circuit is made of the lake. The survey crew spends noon at Cleetwood Cove, and 2:00 p.m. at the Grotto

July 19
Sounding of the Lake commences. Topographer Mark B. Kerr works on a map of the Lake and of the surrounding country. After 168 soundings are made, the maximum depth of the lake is determined to be 1,996 feet. Dutton declares the Lake to be the deepest lake in the country and the second deepest in the world.

William G. Steel names Dutton Cliff for Captain Clarence E. Dutton. Captain Dutton had charge of the U.S. Geological Survey crew, which made the first official survey of the Lake during the summer of 1886. Kerr Notch is also named for Mark B. Kerr, chief engineer for the Cleetwood expedition. Kerr, an Englishman, pronounced his name, “CAR”.

Steel writes of his feelings of being at Crater Lake: “While at the lake in 1885, I had a strong desire to go out upon its surface under favorable circumstances, but had no boat. As soon as they were launched in 1886, I began watching for a favorable opportunity and about the time of the full moon I slipped out of camp one night, pulled out near the center and stopped for an observation. There was not a breath of air stirring and reflections were as perfect as it could have been in a plate glass mirror. The walls were clearly outlined above the water and below were inverted, but just as clear. Upon yonder a full moon floated in the air and down below it was just as clear and beautiful. The North Star was clear above and below as were also the Pleasides. The Milky Way seemed clearer below than above. I was an atom in the center of an enormous sphere, looking up to the starry heavens and looking down at its counter-part. The shore line and its reflection appeared as a great knothole, with creation above, the creation below. Did human eye behold such a sight? Why should I be favored? God in His infinite mercy permitted me to look out upon His glorious works as never man did before. Why should I not be grateful?”

Senator Dolph and Representative Herman introduced identical bills to set Crater Lake aside as a “Public Park”. The bills are not reported out of committee.

August 5
Dutton and Steel complete their work at Crater Lake. Lake depth determined finally at 2008 feet. Gaywas (Giowy’s) Rock named by Applegate. Later changed to Skell Head.

August 16
Ten names are carved into a rock near the summit of Wizard Island: Annie Shipley, E.V. Patterson, Sam Hodges, Maggie Linn, Tom and Minnie Ross, R.E. Ross, E.R. Reames, Abe Ross, F. Lynn.


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