Smith Brothers 1945

J.C. Major, 1218 Chateau Drive, San Jose, California, claims a Grumman Torpedo Bomber TBM crashed into the Lake when the plane’s engine quite while over the water. The Navy plane made a water landing and the pilot got out in a raft. Since the Park was closed during this period, rescue was difficult.

August 20
A minor building fire.

September 15
The Watchman Fire Lookout reports seeing a strange cloud of smoke or fog rising sharply from the Lake’s surface, then mushrooming. Two days later a similar cloud is seen from the summit of Garfield Peak. A third was seen from Devil’s Backbone. All three clouds were seen on a clear day and over the deepest part of the Lake. Miss Linda Newhall, the fire lookout, reported the cloud as a dust colored fog or smoke cloud forming on or arising from the waters of the lake. It rose sharply, then mushroomed out, and finally spread and drifted away with the wind currents.

September 17
Dale Vincent, while on the summit of Garfield Peak, observes a column of grayish smoke or steam extending about 1000 feet in height, 200 feet in width, and about 300 feet above the surface of the water of the Lake. He estimated the smoke to be one mile from the east shore of the lake. Mr. Vincent had his camera with him, but was so frightened he thought only of getting himself and camera down off the Peak.

September 30
The third reported sighting of a dust cloud over Crater Lake. Park Ranger Kenneth Hurlburt observed the cloud at about 11:15 a.m. from a lookout point on the west side of the lake, between Hillman and Llao Rock. The cloud was about 300 to 400 feet wide and extended upward to a distance of four hundred to five hundred feet. It was diamond in shape, narrow at the top and bottom and wider in the middle of the formation. He observed it from all the various lookout points along the rim, as far south as Crater Lake Lodge. (from a NPS press release)

October 29
Dr. John C. Merriam, dies in Oakland, California

November 6
Superintendent Leavitt, in a letter to Dr. Howel Williams, describes the Fall phenomenon seen over Crater Lake: “Mrs. Dale Stoops of Klamath Falls reported that on September 18 she and other members of her party saw a funnel shaped cloud just over the water…it appeared to be gas, smoke, dust or steam just over the surface of the lake…The phenomenon (was) reported by Mr. Dale Vincent (photographer, naturalist and writer) on September 17, from the summit of Garfield Peak, and by our lookout, Miss (Linda) Newhall on September 15. Unless everybody is getting “hallucinations” it does appear that there is some phenomenon there that has not yet been satisfactorily explained. No one seem to have seen the smoke or gas actually rising from the waters of the Lake…Unfortunately, Crater Lake has been officially closed…However special efforts are being made to persuade the Navy to provide funds to keep the park operating during the winter, primarily for the benefit of the 5,000 Marines at Klamath Falls who are being treated for tropical diseased. The Medical officers find that a change of environment…is one of the finest supplement to their medical program and lasting recovery.”

November 12
Time magazine reports that eight weeks ago a fire lookout on the Watchman Peak saw the calm blue water emit a giant belch. A cloud of smoke or dust filled gas billowed out of the deep water, rose high in the air. Two days later, a second dust bubble broke from the surface. The third was two weeks later, forming a cloud 300 feet wide. Tourists began to flock to the Lake to watch. In late October, after the road was closed, the Lake uttered yet one more eruption of gas.

December 5
Because of the sighting of strange smoke clouds over Crater Lake, Dr. Howel Williams proposes the installation of a seismograph near the Rim of Crater Lake.

December 3
Grumman Hell Cat fighter plane crashes east of Skell Head. The remains of the pilot are found 25 years later. A group of seven planes had left Redding, California heading for Washington. As the formation entered clouds near the Park, one of the planes disappeared. The seven plane squadron was part of a larger group of 100 F-6-F Hell Cats heading eventually to San Diego. The planes were flying in squadron of 4 each, flying at 21,000 feet. The squad master saw Pilot Frank Lupo trying to switch his gas tanks. Apparently the switch failed, the engine quit and the Hell Cat was last seen heading down through the clouds. The official investigation of the crash was conducted in 1970, following the discovery of the Lupo’s skull. (See entry for: August 17, 1970)

Season Visitation: 77,864

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