Jan Smelter

Crater Lake National Park Centennial Oral Histories

 Jan Smelter

There were Divinity students who were asked to lead non-denominational religious services in the campgrounds on Sunday mornings.

On Saturday night there were dances in the old Ranger hall or the Cafeteria, and people would come from all around – smoke jumpers; airmen from Klamath Falls; road crews; about 200 Hells Angels, escorted front and back by State Police, they didn’t stay long; and of course Park staff.

Because we provided our own entertainment it was common practice to build a fire in the Rim Campground and sing folk songs with a guitar. There were van tours around the rim and you could catch a ride to a trail head and be pickup later. The Cafeteria would pack a sack lunch upon request. If you left Rim Village you had to sign out and be back by 11:00 PM. We could ride with the boat crews and be dropped off at Wizard Island or Phantom Ship. There were row boats at Wizard Island or you could go swimming from the boat landing, the water was very chilly.

The dining room was the job to have because of the tips and at the end of summer there were tryouts for the next year. The bar was famous for its Old-Fashions. The drinking age was eighteen years old, the same as a military base. The staff were rarely allowed in, but an exception was made the end of the summer.

I stayed after the Lodge closed to help shut down the cafeteria. Because of the extreme cold I had the rare treat of staying in a guestroom with my own bathroom! Our meals were served in the dining room (what a treat!). After dinner we would set before the fireplace in the dining room. It was a warm beautiful experience with the ghost of the past all around us. My favorite Ranger story was about a bear who would walk through the campground – pick out a ice chest and haul it out – somewhere in the park was a mound of old ice chests!

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