About the Chronology

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Larry Smith (left) and his brother Lloyd (right) as rangers at Crater Lake National Park

Submitted for inclusion in the Crater Lake Symposium Proceedings

July, 1993

By: Larry B. Smith

 Beginnings

As with most people who visit Crater Lake National Park, my twin brother, Lloyd, and I became fascinated with a large number of unusual places names that have been sprinkled around the Park. Who would not be curious about such geographical names as: Goodbye, Annie, Wizard, Phantom, Vidae, Watchman, Cleetwood, Skell, Llao, Danger Bay, and of course the most enduring of all Park names “The Old Man of the Lake”.

 

It was during our early Ranger years at Crater Lake (Lloyd, 1959 – 1981), Larry, (1961 – 1980), that we wondered what event or events created the circumstances for such unusual names and who were these people who had the honor of being the first ones, in the right place of the right time, to find such odd names to stick onto the slippery rock slopes of Crater Lake?


During my third season at Crater Lake (1964), while working the Ranger Dispatch Desk at Headquarters, I happened upon the story behind the naming of “Goodbye”. I was soon engrossed in the story of the interior departments firing of Superintendent Arant and his refusal to vacate his Annie Springs office. Since the superintendent would not leave on his own, U.S. Marshals were called in to forcibly remove him from his government office and the Arant family from their nearby living quarters. During this difficult time, Arant and his brother had been building a bridge over an unnamed Creek, about a mile north of his headquarters camp. As U.S. Marshal Leslie Scott bid “goodbye” to Arant family, he named a bridge and a creek beneath a bridge “Goodbye” because it was the last piece of work completed at Crater Lake by the“retiring” Superintendent.

I was fascinated by this trivial fact of history and felt the story should be shared. So I typed up a short summary on an index card and tacked it to the employee bulletin board at the head of the stairs in the Administration Building. Several more stories followed. Thus started my lifelong hobby of collecting Crater Lake stories.

It was a policy in the ranger division, during these years, to keep a daily and weekly log of important Park events and happenings. Red Cone District Ranger, Larry Hakel took this responsibility very seriously. One day Hakel mentioned to my brother that these logs should become a part of the Park’s permanent record and that perhaps the monthly summary logs could be expanded to include interesting events from the past years. Acting on this suggestion, Lloyd, and the District Ranger busied themselves collecting these past Park stories as they happened upon them in the course of their duties.

I remember walking into the Ranger Office during the summer of 1968 several weeks after Lloyd had told me about Hakel’s desire to start in important event log of Crater Lake. I noticed that Hakel had assembled two typewritten pages of important park events. The second page was still in the typewriter. I took the two pages upstairs and made Xeroxed copies.

Since I was working the Park’s evening Dispatch Desk that summer, I had access to a typewriter and Park records. I began filling in interesting events between the dates that Larry Hakel had started. Lloyd was working those summers as Patrol Ranger and since his patrol duties took him over the whole Park, he had many opportunities to meet “Old Timers” who loved to share old Park stories.

For the rest of the summer Lloyd fed me a constant stream of scrawled, handwritten notes that I typed into a quickly expanding log. Our first, primitive edition came off the Headquarters Xerox machine and late August.

The book quickly became a favorite reference source for the Park staff. Lloyd and I were hooked! During the next 15 years that we worked seasonally at Crater Lake, we put out nine, updated and expanded editions. We witnessed many of the events that appear in our chronology. A constant stream of people flowed through the Park eager to share a good story about their favorite happenings at Crater Lake with a couple of interested Rangers.

We have received a bit of criticism from some historians who feel the collection loses research value because few of the items are annotated. About a third of the entire collection, up to 1932, was gleaned from newspaper accounts found in the Steel Scrapbooks. About a third the collection comes from various Park records, memos and reports. The remaining third of the entries are either oral stories relayed to the authors or incidents personally experienced by the Smith Brothers during their fourdecade association with Crater Lake National Park. Also, as a practical matter, had all 2,000 entries been annotated, the reference list would have nearly equal the chronology entries.

In 1977, reporter Lee Juillerat wrote a story about our collection of Crater Lake Stories for the Klamath Falls, The Herald and News. In this article, apparently for lack of better name, Lee called our booklet “The Smith Brothers’ Chronological History of Crater Lake National Park”. We have since adopted that name.

We have now completed the collection’s fourteenth revision. The chronological history is approaching 150 pages, with nearly 2000 entries. Computers allow us to get away from the old method of “cut and paste” whenever we add new story. We have strived to double check our entries for accuracy, but we have found that oral remembrances do cause what seem to be contradictions and inconsistencies. People remember past events in different ways, but because we have accepted oral history and traditions into our collection, some perceived inaccuracies are acceptable if you accept this premise.

Records of particular events may or may not have been superseded by subsequent years. Old and out-of-date records have been left in because they were a significant happening of that particular year. A limited attempt has been made to cross reference older records with newer records. (such as: please refer to…)

If you know any good Crater Lake stories, please contact us because this history will never be complete. That seems to be the nature this type of collection. Let a month or to go by and more stories pop-up and we will again feel the urged to start working on revision number fifteen.

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Lloyd Smith (left) and his brother Larry (right), Jacksonville, OR, 2005