Smith Brothers 1907

Will Steel starts movement to secure $250,000 for construction of a road from Medford to Klamath Falls, via Crater Lake.

Charles True claims to have driven the first car to the Rim of Crater Lake under its own power.

January 21
In a letter to Supt. W.F. Arant, Will Steel pleads his case for being allowed to place tour boats on Crater Lake. He reminds the superintendent that “there would not now be such a thing as the Crater Lake National Park if it had not been for me…Personally I am not able to pay for the establishment of hotels and boats but feel…the citizens of Oregon will support me…I object seriously to this privilege being let out to some one with no feeling in the matter beyond simply making money out of it. I want to see at least one electro-vapor launch on the lake, capable of carrying from thirty to forty persons, and much smaller boats as may be necessary. (The boat would be a modern-day triumph of design: forty feet long, seven feet eight inches beam, draw 30 inches of water and be filled with a 10-horse power motor. It would run nine miles per hour and, with camp chairs, seat 45 persons. Plans provided that it be sealed with cypress, all copper-fastened, and paneled in solid mahogany.) I also want a hotel established at or near Annie Creek Spring, suitable for visitors who are unable to pay high rates, and another on the rim of the lake capable of carrying on a high class tourist trade. Fancy buildings are not as necessary as cleanliness, comfort, conveniences, good food, well cooked and properly served. I would not aim to construct all the buildings the first year…I would insist on pure water being brought from an elevation to the this hotel…It would cost $2,000 to $2,500 to place a proper launch on the lake…” A total of $5,000 for hotel building, tents, bedding and support buildings…”If the Department will grant me the privilege of establishing and maintaining hotels and boats in the Park…I will do all that is called for…”

March 4
Congress eliminates the President’s power to add public land to National Forests. However, in the few days before the bill was to become law, Roosevelt, with frantic work by Pinchot and his staff, completed the establishment of an additional 16 million acres of forest reserves, known as the “midnight reserves”. The same piece of legislation changed the designation “forest reserve” to “national forest” because Pinchot wanted to show that the Federal forests were for use, and not just reserved or preserved (Williams, 1991)

Will Steel organizes the Crater Lake Company in Portland with stock valued at $250,000. Steel is not a good businessman and never has enough capital to develop or operate his concession.

May 1
Will Steel authorized to provide transportation to the Park and camping accommodations and a permit is granted to place a gasoline launch and row boats on the lake.

June 6 & 13
Steel and E.D. Whitney establish The Crater Lake Company and the Klamath Falls Express Co. As the Park’s first concessioner, they provided transportation for tourists, a tent camp at Annie Springs and boat tours on the Lake.

July 14
The first motor launch, the Wocus, is placed on the Lake by William Steel.

July 15
William Steel names Garfield Peak for James R. Garfield, Secretary of the Interior. Mr. Garfield was the first cabinet member to visit Crater Lake. The peak is 8060 feet high and is 1883 feet above the lake’ surface. Formerly the peak was known as Castle Mountain.

Construction begins on the first phase of the new Crater Lake Lodge. Estimated that the cost will be about $5,000 and the construction will be completed in 2 summers.

Henry E. Momyer becomes the Park’s first park ranger, serving from 1907 until 1920. Henry died in Klamath Falls in 1928.

Barns and stables built at Anna Spring.

Season Visitation: 2,600

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