Smith Brothers 1931

February 23
Emil Nordeen wins the Annual Crater Lake Ski Race to the cheering of 3,500 spectators and permanent possession of the Ft. Klamath cup in the winning ski time of 5 hours and 35 minutes. The skiers followed unplowed roads from Ft. Klamath to Crater Lake Lodgeand back again.

Weed-Klamath Falls Highway construction begun. Promises to cut 50 miles from a trip to Crater Lake from Northern California.

Newspapers report that “Steven Mather, NPS Director, counts Crater Lake among his favorite playground.”

April 1
Mr. and Mrs. Dale Franklin announce that they were the first persons to arrive at the Rim at 12:30 pm, having had to wait for the snow plow to finish the last mile and a half. The opening of the Park is 2 months earlier than Crater Lake has ever been accessible by car before. Light snowfall and more efficient snow removal equipment made the early opening possible.

April 10
“Science” magazine reports that the Carnegie Corporation has donated $5,000 for the furnishing and installation of equipment for the Sinnott Memorial Overlook. Congress appropriated $10,000 toward the construction of the Memorial. The overlook will be developed with a twofold purpose: “To bring to the visitor to the Park an adequate idea of the beauty of the picture presented and to furnish interesting scientific data as to the formation of the crater in which the blue lake lies and its geologic history.”

Superintendent Solinsky reports finding a serious infestation of bark beetles containing about 3,000 trees located in the s.w. corner of the Park. Staff feels the battle against the beetles is “not going well.” The superintendent feels that even if one bug tree is left in the Park it becomes a potential menace that will undo all of the accomplishments of the bug control work. Heavy infestation were found outside the Park. So, the entire beetle control question was much bigger than the Park, and people were beginning to question if complete control of the outbreak in the Park was feasible. (Boyd Wickman)

May 1
In a letter to Superintendent E.C. Solinsky, Will Steel writes, “Theories (about Park preservation) should not be endured, when they interfere with the rights of visitors. Two courses are open. Either the road will be built over the hills through the forest, in an uninteresting region, or it will be built from near the hotel, inside the rim, to the base of Kerr Notch, four miles distant, on a four percent grade, then through a tunnel, on approximately a five per cent grade, making one of the most thrillingly beautiful roads on earth, exciting the admiration of all who see it.

“At present there are probably not to exceed one per cent of visitors who go to the water. With the road in question, 100% would certainly descend and enjoy fishing and boating. Have they not a right to do so? Whata (sic) tremendous increase in travel would result from such a road. A brilliant opportunity now confronts Crater Lake and a world wide reputation hangs in the balance, but it is threatened by a cheap theory, based on the hope of getting support from those in command. Shall we stand idly by and see such a disaster thrust upon the lake, then wait for posterity to condemn us? If we fail, the next generation will demand the road and wonder at our lack of vision.” Will Steel.

May 5
New Chief Ranger Canfield on duty in park.

May 7
Bids and plans begin for a new Rim Road. Bids called to grade the first six miles of a new West Rim Road. Estimated cost will be $60,000 per mile. 120 men are employed for the next five months.

May 21
New boat launched on Crater Lake.

Twenty new tourist cabins built behind cafeteria. “Will continue to build until need is satisfied.”

Post Office is located in the Lodge. Hot water, showers, and plenty of wood available in the upper (Rim) Campground. Campground located at White Horse Creek, because of the early snow melt at that elevation and the availability of water.

Medical services are inaugurated in the Park. A seasonal nurse and doctor are available to the employees and visitors.

New docks are built at the bottom of the Lake Trail.

A new water system is being constructed that will replace wood pipe with steel. Munson Spring water has been pumped into five wooden tanks located on a hill in the campground area, but the new Garfield reservoir will eliminate two of these tanks.

Carbonized logs found in a road cut, 23 miles west of the Lake Rim. The ancient burned tree had been covered over by pumice flows from Mt. Mazama.

July 6
Park staff estimates that there are 47 bear living in the park.

Crew of 40 men are employed to fight the pine beetle in the Park. Construction of theWatchman Fire Lookout is begun. Large concentration of California Tortoise Shell Butterflies, mostly on the East side.

Electric light facilities are installed in the Rim Campground. A 2 story, six-room seasonal employee’s quarters is constructed of heavy stone on the Rim just above the present North Junction-known as the “North House”. Demolished in 1959.

Naturalist conducted boat trips around the Lake and auto caravans around the Rim Drive become a summer favorite.

Summer 1931 (or 1932)
Oral tradition persists among the old timers that an amphibian airplane landed on the Lake and was unable to fly out. It was supposedly packed out in pieces up the Lake Trail.

Boy Scout, Drew Chick, conducts the first narrated auto caravan around Crater Lake. Chick filled in at the last moment because the regular scheduled ranger had taken ill. The auto caravan proved to be very popular.

July 11
“Pop” Warner, famous football coach, visits the Park.

July 18
Boy Scout, Drew Chick, and Chief Ranger Ansel Hall spend the day laying out a new trail to the top of Wizard Island. While exploring the island on the return to the boat dock, Hall discovers the transom of the Cleetwood. Chick recovers the remains of the old boat from a small lake inlet while Hall takes photos of the historic recovery. The letters, “U.S.G.S.” were still visible. Will Steel confirmed the discovery as being authentic. Pieces of the pioneer craft are soon displayed at the Park’s information Bureau and Community House.

July 25
Mr. Davidson, construction engineer for the Park during the years, 1927 to 1934, finds the Cleetwood sounding apparatus on Wizard Island, having been discarded 45 years earlier. Judge Steel verifies the find and demonstrates how the Cleetwood Party was able to sound the Lake with such a crude device.

August 3
J.C. Penney visits the Park.

August 8
One fourth acre fire on Wizard Island, caused by a careless smoker. Many thought the Island was erupting.

1931 Season
New 200,000 water tank completed on Garfield, replacing 5 wooden tanks on the hill behind the Rim Campground. Power lines are extended to the Rim. Lights are planned to illuminate the Rim area over a mile north of the Lodge. A 35 inch trout reported to have been caught in the Lake. The new Rim Drive is completed to the North Junction. One hundred laborers are working two 8-hour shifts.

During the past four years, 33,000 acres of trees are killed by insects. North Entrance Road is paved from Diamond Lake to the Park.

1931 One of the largest Western White Pines in the World is found in Annie Creek Canyon. Circumference of 23 feet and is estimated to be 1,000 years old.

September 22
Power is delivered to a transformer substation at the Lodge, making the first time that generators do not have to be used. An 11,000 volt transmission line is constructed.

October 8
Braving the dangers of the high altitude and precipitous cliffs, the first airplane in history lands on the windblown waters of Crater Lake. The ship, a yellow winged amphibian with crimson fuselage, was piloted by Clayton Scott of Seattle, and mechanic George Dahlberg. The plan approached from over the Annie Spring Checking Station, circled gracefully around Wizard Island, and landed easily near the shore of the Island, being tossed about by strong winds and waves. Soon after it landed, the ship taxied toward the East shore and slowly raised from the water. The plane circled low over the Information Building while Pilot Scott tossed out pictures of the plane and of the passengers. The plane barely missed the tree tops.

Judge Steel continues to push for his idea of a road down to the Lake, connecting the Lodge with Kerr Notch below Garfield and Applegate Peak. Will Steel expressed a low opinion of those who opposed his plan on a theory that the road would mar the beauty of the natural landscape. “Crater Lake belongs to the people. If they want to deface the wall, they can do. What good is scenery if you can’t enjoy it? Every person who visits Crater Lake wants to go to the Lake shore and out on the beautiful Lake in a boat. With the road, I propose every person, be he aged, crippled, or otherwise unable to make the present long trip down to the water and back, can drive down in comfort.” “This newspaper (Portland Oregonian) is entirely behind Judge Steel in his visionary project.”

One hundred laborers at work on two eight-hour shifts of road building, trying to beat the upcoming winter snows.

Season Visitation: 170,284


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