Two years before his death, Will Steel writes, “Why were national parks created? Somewhere in musty legal documents it says they were created for the benefit and enjoyment of the people of the United States. A beautiful dream exists that they were created to maintain forever, nature in its wildest, most primitive state, without stroke or strait.”
“The government has spent millions of dollars to make them available to visitors, who were assured that everything would be done for their benefit and enjoyment. To this end roads and trails have been constructed, buildings erected and many other things done, including commercializing of everything in sight. Which plan shall be maintained?”
Superintendent Solinsky proposes an “Alex Sparrow Memorial Parkway” to run from the town of Trail on the Rogue River to the national forest boundary at River Bridge.
The Isaac Skeeter’s family claims Judge Steel gave total credit for the discovery of Crater Lake to John Wesley Hilman because Hilman contributed a rather large sum of money to Crater Lake. When Steel asked the Skeeters to do the same, the family was financially unable, and they were passed over by history when instead Hillman, Henry Klippel and Isaac Skeeters should have been equally honored because of their simultaneous discovery of Crater Lake.
Addie Skeeters Martin of Toledo, Oregon, writes a letter to William Steel. “Attempting to honor all men who comprised the “Hillman Party”….nor is it my purpose to detract from Mr. Hillman any honor justly due him, BUT it is a fact that three men, Mr. Hillman among them, actually road their horses abreast and saw the lake together. The others were: Isaac Skeeters, (my father) and Henry Klippel, who when beholding the Lake for the first time, the remainder of the party were a short distance away, Mr. Hillman exclaimed, “This is the bluest Lake I have ever seen,” and my father said, “Let’s name it Deep Blue Lake”. A third party spoke up and said, “Let’s name it Mysterious Lake.” The three men were hunting game for food when they rode up the head of the draw leading to the Rim of the Lake and beheld the most wonderful sight in their lives. My father was considered the best shot in the entire country and was chosen to the hunting for the party. The credit for the discovery of the Lake should be shared alike by all members of the party. After Mr. Hillman had been wounded in the Rogue Indian War of 1855, he returned to the East, while my father and the rest of his party settled in Jackson County. The monument at Crater Lake commemorating the discovery should have inscribed thereon names of all the men who saw the Lake at that time. They suffered the same hardships with Hillman, and later, also to the hardships of early settlement of the state, while Hillman returned to the East where he is given all the credit for the discovery. It is a very often misfortune that historical facts are not established until further posterity is dumbfounded with adverse information which became tradition. The other members of Hilman’s party were miners and settlers who had some knowledge of the country, while Hillman was almost a stranger in the country. It should be made known to the world that Oregon Pioneers discovered the Lake.”
The Ft. Klamath – Crater marathon ski race shortened from 42.6 miles to 32 miles.
Former Superintendent Alex Sparrow dies in Klamath Falls from a fall and is buried in the Jacksonville Cemetery. Mr. Sparrow was serving as a Jackson County Judge (Commissioner) and was on an inspection trip to Klamath Falls. A man of boundless energy, he had bounded out of his car and had hurried on ahead of his party as they prepared to enter the Courthouse. The building was undergoing a major remodel and the workmen had removed the flooring in the lobby and had left no warning signs of the dangers that lay beyond the entrance doors. Alex Sparrow, in the darkness of the lobby, fell through the floor joists to the hard cement floor of the basement.
Congress cuts $1200 from Crater Lake’s construction budget for the building of two entrance arches, one on the North Boundary, and other for the East Entrance. Congress does approve: Employee quarters for $3500, comfort stations for $2500, oil house for $1200, A Superintendent’ House, shops for $6,000 and a new Ranger Dormitory for $12,000.
Proposal that the Government buy the Exhibit Building that has been a private photo studio owned by Fred Kiser for $1,000. Claimed to be “the finest building ever built in any of the national parks.” By 1936 the NPS wanted to tear it down because it distracted from the Rim Area. The building has remained as the Park’s main visitor contact station for the past 70 years.
First sightings of snow bergs floating on the Lake.
Mr. Wilson, from Wilson’s Cabins, purchases the Sand Creek filling station and store complex at the East Entrance of the Park, along old highway 97. For the next five years this was the center of activity for the delivery and storage of the road equipment used for the construction of the New Rim Drive. Large pieces of road equipment were “walked” overland went, through the trees to the Rim Construction Site. The drive, led by D-7 cants took one week.
The first aerial inspection of the Park by Park officials.
New snowfall record set for the month at 91 inches.
The first Oregon Jay’s nest found in the Park.
J.O. Shively, Crater Lake’s first auto passenger, visits the Park.
Stephen Mather plague presented to the Park and dedicated. It is to be temporarily housed in the Exhibit Building until the snow melts and a permanent outdoor location is selected. The plague was stored in the E.B. for the next 21 years before installed on the Rim Promenade. All National Park in existence at the time Stephen Mather was appointed NPS Director in 1915 were presented with a Mather plaque. “There will come no end to the good he has done.”
Name of Crater Lake National Forest changes to Rogue National Forest to avoid confusion with Crater Lake National Park. Formerly known as Mazama National Forest.
The Rim Drive construction extended to the Wineglass. Discovery Point Trail constructed by CCC. Some Stone Houses are completed. 156,000 Rainbow Trout and 163,000 Steelhead liberated in the Lake.
Leon Norman, CCC member reports helping Larry Espy and Glenn Crouse haul out a 32 pound Rainbow Trout, which had been caught below the Watchman. The fish was mounted and hung in Sinnott for 20 years.
William Steel makes his last visit to Crater Lake.
Seasons 1932 – 1938
16,304 people register on top of the Watchman Fire lookout.
Water line completed to The Watchman Fire Lookout.
Fatal stroke at North Entrance.
The addition of the southern Panhandle, adds 973 acres to the Park. A gift of the Forest Service in order to preserve an outstanding grove of Ponderosa Pine.
Mrs. Lydia Steel dies in Medford, Oregon and is buried in Siskiyou Memorial Park. Her headstone reads, “Wife of William G. Steel.” The Steels had been married 32 years.
Will Steel donates, to the Park’ Archives, his collection of photographs of early pioneers, identified with the discovery and development of Crater Lake National Park
Winter 1932 – 1933
Record snowfall in one 24 hour period. February 15 – 35 inches. Record snowfall for one season of 879.0 inches. (73 1/4 feet)
Season Visitation: 109,738