It was William Gladstone Steel, known as the “Father of Crater Lake,” whose tenacity made Crater Lake a national park in 1902. Steel dreamed of having a lodge built overlooking Crater Lake. He formed a company, known as the Crater Lake Company, and set out to raise $250,000 to build the lodge.
Undeterred by the difficulty in raising funds, Steel decided to go ahead and begin construction, even though he had only raised $75,000.
In 1909 construction began on the lodge. Challenges included a three-month building season and bringing in building materials by horse-drawn wagons at an elevation of 7,000 feet.
By 1910 the first floor of the lodge was completed, but it had taken the entire $75,000. The unfinished lodge sat idle for two more years.
Steel finally received $50,000 from the federal government, as well as a donation of lumber from a local sawmill. Crater Lake Lodge was completed in 1915.
The years were not kind to the lodge, and in 1991, the doors closed. The building went through a massive remodeling, which took four years to accomplish. The doors opened to the public again in 1995, and today the lodge welcomes visitors from all around the world.
Source: Nielson, Carol. Southern Oregon Historic Traveler. Oregon: Nielson Studio Productions.
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