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Crater Lake Lodge

Crater Lake

On the way back from Smith we stopped at Crater Lake National Park and hiked to the top of one of the little peaks on the crater. We also checked out the Crater Lake Lodge, which turned out to have an interesting history. It opened in 1915, and from the sound of things was always the source of complaints. It was at the end of dirt road a long ways from any town, and the site was much more extreme than Oregon contractors were used to in those days, so some corners were cut on the construction and it was never completely finished. Running the lodge was always a hassle; water, electricity, laundry, and staffing were difficult, and the structure itself was never sound. The stone walls were hollow and built on an ash base without a foundation, causing the floors and walls of the building to buckle and warp as the building settled.

In the late eighties the building was declared unsafe and the park service decided to tear it own to build a new lodge. But then the public objected. The park service reminded everyone that they had been complaining about the lodge since its opening and that no one had ever been happy with the building, but everyone replied back that they didn’t care, they wanted to save it. So the park service spent 4 years completely rebuilding it, taking it down to the ground and rebuilding it with a basement and a proper foundation, and rebar, wall ties, and a concrete core inside the stone walls. They numbered and stored all of the stones and then put each one back in the same place.

I can’t speak to the finances of it, but the renovated building is hugely popular. It was all full in late September, and they recommend making reservations a year in advance. I didn’t take my camera with me when Anita and I hiked to the top of the peak behind the lodge, but we both agreed that the lodge improved the view, creating a nice focal point on the circular rim around the lake.

They had information about the history of the lodge and a nice cross-section of the new walls.

4 Responses to “Crater Lake Lodge”

  1. October 23rd, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Town Mouse says:

    In Europe, this kind of restoration is much more popular than here. Why do you think so many of the German cities have a quaint old downtown? Yes, most of it was bombed to the ground, but rebuilt with the stones that were still around.

    I loved Crater Lake when I went there for a birthday with Mr. Mouse a few years ago, but I must admit it was one of the worst birthday dinners I ever had. The salmon are ordered hadn’t fully defrosted. Must be those staffing problems…

  2. October 23rd, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    ryan says:

    That’s good to know about the restaurant. The prices are not cheap. Maybe it was easier to fix the stone than the staffing.You’re right that this kind of renovation is much more common in Europe. Pretty rare here. In Europe a building from 1915 wouldn’t really even qualify as historic.

  3. October 30th, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    lostlandscape (James) says:

    I like the grand old lodges that you still see around at some of the parks…Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, I’m blanking on some of the others I’ve seen. The Crater Lake one I’ve seen, but I’m not sure if I’ve done more than visit its gift shop on the way to other things. A tad sad that that’s how I’ve experienced most of these historic structures.

  4. November 5th, 2010 at 5:59 am

    rebecca sweet says:

    Love the history of this lodge – poor little building, always getting picked on. It’s nice to see its having its day in the sun! Kind of an ‘ugly duckling’ story!