1004348639 SOHS 04469 Crater Lake Lodge Construction.jpg
Photo from the Southern Oregon Historical Society
Crater Lake Lodge is shown under construction in the early 1900s.

Crater Lake Lodge a testament to tenacity

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.

— As It Was is a co-production of Jefferson Public Radio and the Southern Oregon Historical Society. As It Was stories are broadcast weekdays on Jefferson Public Radio and are available online at asitwas.org.

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