Crater Lake Lodge Turns 100 in 2015; Lodge has Seen Significant Changes and Improvements over the Past Century
For Immediate Release
CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK, Feb. 3, 2015 – One of the finest examples of classic national park accommodations, Crater Lake Lodge in Crater Lake National Park – the country’s fifth national park – turns 100 this year. For many decades, however, the lodge was a work in progress that ultimately required a near “do over” resulting in a building that can withstand the harsh winters while inspiring guests who enjoy its perch overlooking the world’s cleanest lake.
Construction of Crater Lake Lodge was a six-year process that began in 1909 when, at the urging of William G. Steel who had championed the creation of Crater Lake National Park, Portland developer Alfred Parkhurst accepted the challenge.
Actually, multiple challenges confronted crews. Because Crater Lake sees some 15 feet of snow each year, the typical building season lasts only three months. Additionally, the park was undeveloped and the roads were unpaved. Materials and workers alike had to be transported significant distances over these primitive roads as well.
The net effect was to drive up costs and extend the timing of the completion of the lodge. According to the National Park Service, the developer was forced to cut corners. When the lodge opened on July 3, 1915 the furnishings were minimal, the exterior walls were clad in tarpaper, and the interior walls were finished with a thin material called “beaver board.” The lodge featured shared bathrooms, and electricity was provided by a small generator.
From 1922 through 1924, a new wing was added that doubled the number of guest rooms and featured private bathrooms. Nevertheless, many rooms remained unfinished, and the lodge suffered from neglect. While visitation declined because of tough economic times, the Great Depression had a silver lining in the form of the Civilian Conservation Corps. This publicly funded program brought workers to landscape the area and included hundreds of indigenous trees and shrubs, paved parking areas and walkways adjacent to the lodge. The result was a more natural appearance and the control of dust and erosion.
Like many national park lodges, Crater Lake closed during World War II but reopened to an enthusiastic traveling public shortly after the war ended. Lodge owners and managers, however, did little to upgrade and maintain the building. In 1967 the National Park Service purchased Crater Lake Lodge and began an evaluation to determine if it was worth saving. Because of public support for the building, NPS continued to make repairs, but engineers determined in 1989 that the building was unsafe and advised against opening for the season.
At this point, the structural integrity of Crater Lake Lodge was beyond saving, and NPS began the process of dismantling the lodge and salvaging materials for use in a new building. Architects, engineers and contractors designed the new lodge to look like its predecessor circa the late 1920s. A steel structural support system was built, masonry was salvaged, and a modern hotel was constructed to today’s standards of safety and comfort.
Crater Lake Lodge reopened in 1994 at a cost of $15 million. Today the 71-room lodge is open from mid-May through mid-October.
Xanterra Parks & Resorts, the country’s largest operator of national and state parks and resorts, operates the lodge as well as the cabins at Mazama Village, Mazama Village Campground, Crater Lake Lodge Dining Room, Annie Creek Restaurant & Gi Shop, the Rim Village Cafeteria and boat cruises.
Reservations at Crater Lake Lodge may be made online at www.craterlakelodges.com or by calling 1-888-774-2728.