Crater Lake National Park Centennial Oral Histories
Harold (Eli) Whitney, 1940-1941
Worked in the lodge housekeeping department, the cafeteria food service, shoveling snow, prepping boats for summer use, and finally I was 2nd person to reach the lake shore.
I was employed with the Crater Lake Lodge Corporation. In order to get a job, college students were required to apply my mail, then some were called in for a personal interview; this was at 40th & Hawthorne in Portland. Mr. Price, Mr. Fayoor and Mr. Richardson were the main interviewers.
First job (1941) shoveling snow from main lodge and cafeteria entrances. I was then assigned to housekeeping.
1941 – more snow shoveling, then I assisted the boatmen. We slipped over the wall and I was the second one to reach the lake that year, straight down the snow; scared all the time down, and up!!!! I was then assigned to the cafeteria food services; breakfast tips were $.05/.10, sometimes $.25. I believe our wage then was $1.00/per day with room and board.
The cooks were all Chinese. In 1941, a cook and myself were let off work to go on the bus to register for the WW II draft. The girls all wore smocks which gave the guests the impression that all were pregnant. Employees entertainment consisted of Ranger talks or our own music, costume parties, etc… One time after Labor Day the men turned the upstairs cafeteria unit into a party place. Food, flowers, dancing; through the night. They put in rules so that it was all fun, NO ALCOHOL!
Hiking: I remember one time in a hurry to get back we skidded, and the girl ended up right at the rim’s edge. From there on we went slower, and held hands.
Many notables came including President Herbert Hoover. I’m sure there were some lasting friendships made during those summers.
I ended up in the WW II Merchant Marines Food Department. Our ship, the SS Pettygrove was torpedoed in the Mediterranean. I retired from the Portland Community College Food Service (Bakery Instructor).
We were all instructed to be knowledgeable about Crater Lake and to be ready for question by guests and visitors. Question on a rainy, foggy day – “Where is the Lake?”