Smith Brothers 1911

January
Benjamin Heidel, U.S. highway engineer, Martin Erickson, Supervisor of the Crater National Forest and Harry Hicks of the Rogue River Valley University Club of Medford, set out for Crater Lake. “It is currently stated that no more than ten white persons have ever gone to Crater Lake in winter.” They start walking at Eagle Point because of deep slush on the roads. The group camps the night at a contractor’s camp at Flounce Rock. The third night is spent at Prospect. Only two trappers are found in the whole town. The great snow depth requires the use of snowshoes. Their fourth night is spent at Mill Creek Ranger Station. They spent the fifth night in 12 feet of snow, east of Union Creek. The 6th night is spent in relative comfort in the Superintendent’s house at Annie Spring and the seventh night is spent at the Rim Hotel, waiting out a raging storm. The party discovers Barkowski’s photography equipment, but no trace of the photographer is found. The three men sit out three days of gale force wind and falling snow. Finally, when the sun comes, the team is able to take the first winter photographs of the Lake. Their complete trip takes about 18 days. (Sunset, March, 1912)

February 22
“Photographer, B.B. Bakowski, of Oregon City, who left Ft. Klamath three weeks ago to secure photos of Crater lake in mid winter has been lost in the deep snows that now surround the Crater. Frank Burns and Albert Gipson started out to try and locate the missing adventurer. They found Bakowski’s sled and shovel one and half miles south of the Rim. His camera cases were found at the hotel, but his supplies were missing. Blizzard and gale raging for over three weeks, buried most clues to the man’s disappearance. His camp and supplies and a ten food snow tunnel were located, but not his body.”

February
Large, fancy log entrance gateways to be built at all park entrances.

June 21
Mrs. Jessie B. Momyer, appointed Park’s second postmaster.

July 20
Eight men head for Crater Lake from Klamath Falls via automobile. Sixty mile trip takes 40 gallons of both gas and water, and 2 gallons of oil. (gas was 47.5 cents per gallon.) The group claims the trip to Crater Lake as “the most wonderful motor trip in the world.” Crater Lake is one of only three National Parks that allow automobiles (Mt. Rainier and General Grant). Autos are only allowed to move between 6:30 to 10:30 and 3:30 to 6:30. The machine became stuck in a snow drift as it approached the Rim. Theirs was the third car of the season, first one to make it unaided. “Indian guides will take you near the Rim and await your return with their backs toward the mountains. (Sunset, Oct. 1911)

August
Author, Jack London visits Crater Lake, driving a large spring wagon and four Mustang ponies. claims the Lake is the most beautiful sight he has ever seen in his world travels and lacks words on trying to describe it. “Incomparable in beauty.”

August 4
Government engineers report that the level of Crater Lake is rising at the rate of three inches yearly. They predict the lake will overflow in about 4,000 years.

August 31
Site selected at Wineglass for new main park hotel. The location will only be 15 miles from the railroad, and will be built at a cost of $100,000.

August 31
Masons are nearing completion on the stonework for the new Lodge. The walls are incomplete at the end of the season because of the time-consuming task of quarrying the rock and hauling it by wagon to the Rim. The origin of the rock shifted to the Annie Springs area because it was of better quality. 80% of the kitchen wing is complete and the stonework of the lobby and dining hall is finished.

Three colonies of beaver and a herd of elk are introduced into the Park. Speed limit in the Park is 6 mph, not to exceed 15 mph. Cars are to honk on corners. Commercial annual auto permit – $10. 279 automobiles enter the park. Park opens in mid-July, the latest on record.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the next 6 years work on road building in the Park. A new Park access road is build along with the first unpaved Rim Drive.

Will Steel makes a journey to his boyhood home of Stafford, Ohio where he tours the old Steel family home. Since his family had been heavily involved as abolitionists in the Underground Railroad in Ohio, one could still view the four secret panels and the tunnel that connected to the Steel store. Will corresponded with several of John Brown’s children.

Will Steel spends the “entire winter in in Washington importuning Congressmen for assistance. “It was by far the hardest fight of my life, but a bill was finally passed granting us $50,000 on account. Over $30,000 of this money has now been spent and the work is in full swing. The remainder will be spent as soon as it can be economically , and when the entire system is finished will have the most thrillingly beautiful automobile driveway on earth. I am here on another mission…in that I want a paved road built from Medford to the western entrance of the park, at a cost of nearly $2,000,000; and I expect to win.” Will Steel, from a speech given Jan. 3, 1917 to the National Parks Conference in Washington, D.C.

Of Steel’s trip to Washington, D.C., F.J. Clifford of Medford writes (from the S.O.H.S),” Using every cent of his own scanty savings and all that he could beg and borrow he grimly pressed his crusade, renting a room devoid of furnishings, sleeping on the floor wrapped in his blanket, he badgered, cajoled congressmen until they would hide when they saw him coming.

“Undaunted, he kept on through the winder and summer, trip after trip to Washington until at least with mission accomplished, he headed for Oregon and home with just 20 cents in his packet, five cents of this he stowed away in a vest pocket for safe keeping. The 15 cents went for three sandwiches that had to do him from Washington, D.C., to Portland, Oregon.

“Arriving at the Portland railroad station. hungry but happy, he was pleased but terribly upset to find his wife and small daughter there to meet him. Hurrying to her he excitedly asked: ‘Mamma, have you carfare home for you and Jean”” “Yes, I have,” she replied. “Good!” Will Steel exclaimed: “I have my carfare, too, right in my vest pocket. But I’ve also got $50,000 for Crater Lake National Park!’”
Season Visitation: 4,500 est.

<< previousnext >>