PART II: MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION OF CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK
UNDER THE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR: 1902-1916
CONTROVERSY INVOLVING THE REPLACEMENT OF WILLIAM F. ARANT WITH
WILLIAM G. STEEL AS SUPERINTENDENT OF CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK:
One of the most bizarre stories surrounding the administrative
history of Crater Lake National Park involves the year-long controversy
to oust Arant as superintendent and replace him with William G. Steel.
The controversy was shrouded in considerable political intrigue and
maneuvering, resulting in a year of wrangling during which little
attention was devoted to park management. The struggle ended in July
1913 amid scenes of comic-opera violence and subsequent lawsuits.
In July 1912 a campaign was mounted by William G. Steel and
Alfred L. Parkhurst, president of the Crater Lake Company, to oust Arant as
park superintendent. In fetters to Senator Jonathan Bourne on July 2
and to Secretary of the Interior Walter L. Fisher on July 15, Steel
made a number of somewhat oblique and incongruous statements that
nevertheless revealed his intentions. To Bourne he observed:
The Superintendent is a man for whom I have a
very high regard, and for whom I would do almost anything,---. He has
been faithful to his trust, but the fact cannot be denied that he is not
the sort of man needed if the park is to come into its own. -----. I
dislike very much to express such a sentiment, but feel that the needs
of the park are above those of any man, and when a friend stands in the
way of a proper development! he ought to give way. However, I know there
is no disposition to do so in this case, so it becomes necessary to
consider other means. . . .
If the present Superintendent should be removed, the new man might be
selected, as I understand it, by the Congressman from the First District
who would probably name some friend, not because he is peculiarly fitted
for the place, but because he has been useful in politics, so it is not
impossible that the new man would be worse than the old one. No one will
question the honesty of the present incumbent, but the new man
may be both incompetent and dishonest, so we would be making a
bad matter worse.
---------. However, things are not as they should be in the park management, and
never will be as long as the present official is continued, simply for
the reason that he is not the type of man for such a place.
I am willing to make sacrifices in the matter, if necessary, and mean
just what I say in expressing the fact that it is not the position of
Superintendent that I want, but wholly a park management on a very much
higher plane, which I believe I can bring to pass. . . .
In his letter to Fisher he noted:
I am not the only one here who
objects to the present administration of affairs, for there are many
others, several of whom have come to me with a request that I permit
them to use my name for the place and they would at once start a move
for a change of Superintendent. To this I will not agree, unless you
think it is the proper thing.
Steel concluded the letter to Fisher by suggesting that he be
favorably mentioned for the position of park superintendent.
On the same day that Steel wrote to Fisher, he sent a more lengthy letter to
Assistant Secretary of the Interior Carmi A. Thompson, providing more
details as to his involvement in the move to replace Arant. Steel
Crater Lake conditions and prospects have given me a great
deal of concern lately, and I have tried to think out a course of action
that would produce the very best results, eliminating my own interests
as far as possible. With that end in view I wrote to Senator Bourne on
the 2nd instant . . . hoping that he would be able to work out a
solution that would bring quick results. His reply has just been
received, and I am sorry he feels that the Administration is so
pronounced against him that a request from him would not receive serious
consideration. While I disagree with him in this matter, still "it
is a condition and not a theory that confronts us," so I am doing what I
probably ought to have done in the first place, writing to you. However,
my special object in writing to him was to get the two of you together
in consultation, which I had hoped would result in the formation of some
plan, which I certainly would have approved.
I am not the only one here who objects to the present administration
of affairs, for there are many others, several of whom have come to me
with a request that I permit them to use my name for the place and they
would at once start a move for a change of Superintendent. To this I
will not agree, unless you think it is the proper thing. I dislike very
much to participate in what would seem like a selfish scramble for
official position. In the first place, I have never worked the Crater
Lake matter for selfish reasons and it is too late now to begin. Just
the same, I am intensely interested in the matter, and want to see the
very best results obtained, in which case it is necessary to start the
work of development right, under the appropriation we are after,
which I think will be available this season.
If a change of administration is brought to pass, and the Department
thinks favorably of me for the place, I believe if you will consult with
Mr. Hawley, intimating to him that you would like to have me
recommended, that he would cheerfully agree to it, although if left free
to recommend whom he wishes, I do not believe he would select me. Both
our Senators would recommend my appointment if the opportunity were
I am trying to put this matter up to you exactly as conditions exist,
and wholly regardless of myself, except as a factor in the premises. I
want to do what is best, and believe if the opportunity is offered that
I can make good with all concerned. Frankly, I believe I can give an
administration that will please both the government and the public, and
because I am so deeply interested in the matter, I am willing to make
any sort of sacrifice that is necessary to bring it to pass. If, in your
opinion, it is necessary to start a move here for a change of
administration, I am willing that my friends shall start it.
In response to these complaints, Interior Secretary Fisher dispatched
Inspector Edward W. Dixon to Crater Lake for an inspection on October
8-10 to report on the administration of the park. Dixon toured the park,
examined park records and policies, and held interviews with the
principals in the case. He described his interview with Steel and
. . . they stated very positively that they knew Mr. Arant to be a
man of sound integrity and good intentions; that he was well and
favorably known in Klamath County, Oregon, where he had for many years
been engaged in farming and stockraising; and that their personal
relations with him always had been
friendly and pleasant, but that his previous training and environment
had made him unfitted to superintend the Crater Lake National Park,
though so far, there having been little for him to do, he had gotten
along very well and had given general satisfaction. However, they
contended that, under development conditions, he would not measure up to
requirements. I was unable to learn from other sources of any
dissatisfaction with Superintendent Arant's administration of the
Based on his investigation of park operations Dixon concluded with
a favorable summation of Arant's administration:
I found Mr. Arant to be a practical man with many years of mountain
experience and familiar with all the territory lying within the park.
While he does not, I understand, make any pretense to artistic
attainments or to a knowledge of the science of botany, he is faithful
and conscientious in the discharge of his duties and appears to take a
wholesome interest in the welfare of this reservation, of which he has
been superintendent for more than ten years last past. I consider Mr.
Arant competent to perform the work now assigned him, and there is, in
my judgment, no reason why a change in the position of superintendent
should be made. 
The effort to replace Arant with Steel gained momentum after the
election of President Woodrow Wilson in November 1912. As a life-long
Republican Arant became expendable as park superintendent as members of
the new Democratic administration began efforts to reward the party
faithful and terminate the jobs of office holders under the outgoing
administration of President William Howard Taft. Correspondence between
Steel and Arant during the three-month period between November 1912 and
January 1913 indicates that Steel attempted to use the political
situation for his own advantage. On November 30, for instance, Steel
wrote to Arant:
You probably are aware of the fact that since the election the woods
are full of hungry politicians who are howling for pap, and that among
them half a dozen or more are laboring industriously for the Crater Lake
Superintendency, at least one of whom has journeyed from Klamath Falls
to Portland, to canvas for names and incidentally to curry favor with
Senator Elect Lane. There is absolutely no question but that a change will be
made before the next season opens up, hence there is reason for all
interested in the welfare of the Park to take counsel. I have sounded
the situation very thoroughly and speak advisedly when I say, a change
will be made by the incoming administration.
With such a change pending the best interests of the Park will be
wholly overlooked in the wild scramble for office that will occur in the
spring, and the man with the strongest putt will get the job, totally
regardless of his qualifications. Under such circumstances we are
justified in looking forward to the appointment of some nonentity,
totally unfit for the place, and with no interest in the matter beyond
his salary, which would prove nothing less than a serious disaster to
the entire Crater Lake proposition.
I believe my standing with the Interior Department and with the
Crater Lake project in general is such that, with your assistance, I can
secure an immediate appointment, and that if made at this time, I could
stem the tide against Democratic aspirants and prove of material
assistance in the great development that will commence with the coming
Please give this matter your immediate and earnest consideration, and
if you feel as I do and will send your resignation to the Secretary,
together with a statement that my long service for the Park is such that
you believe my appointment to fill the vacancy would meet with general
approval in Oregon, I feel satisfied that immediate action would follow
by the Department.
I would not think for one instant of writing a letter like this to
you, except that I feel you know I have always been loyal to you, and I
believe you will give me credit for having the good of the Crater Lake
proposition at heart. Under such conditions, and knowing what will
happen if matters are allowed to drift, I am trying to write to you with
perfect frankness, trusting that you will accept it in the feeling of
thorough good fellowship it is intended, and act accordingly, and let me
know the result as soon as you can. However, I believe no good can
follow in either of us talking about what is herein contained, under any
Nearly a month later on December 24 Arant responded to Steel's
request by describing the turmoil over the park superintendency as he
understood it. He observed that Ranger H . E. Momyer was mounting an
effort in Klamath Falls to have himself replace Arant by circulating
rumors that Arant was going to resign and arguing that if Steel received
the job it "would be equivalent to turning the whole crater lake
proposition over to Parkhurst and the Crater Lake Company and
Medford." As for his intentions Arant indicated that he would not
Thereafter, Steel sent two letters to Arant on December 26, 1912, and
January 15, 1913, strongly urging him to resign and intimating the
political consequences of not cooperating with the "lame-duck"
administration officials in the Department of the Interior. In the
former he stated:
I have not owned one cent's worth of stock in the Crater Lake Company
for several weeks past, and my selling was a portion of an understanding
with the Department of the Interior.
You will relieve Mr. Fisher of an embarrassing position if you can
see your way to resign, for he is at this moment considering the
necessity of taking steps to prevent the position of Superintendent from
descending to the pie counter of the new administration. I know what I
am saying, when I say that in case of a vacancy no time will be lost in
appointing a Superintendent AND that if appointed by Mr. Fisher I will
not be disturbed by the Democratic administration. Mr. Fisher knows this
also. What I am saying to you is not intended for the public, so the
less said the better for us all.
Do not let Mr. Momyer disturb you, for he represents a condition that
we are all trying to prevent and Mr. Fisher is in dead earnest, but
greatly dislikes to say anything to you about resigning. If you do so,
he (Fisher) will promptly do his part. If you do so by wire it might be
even better, as it is the intense desire of the Department to escape
just such a calamity as a Momyer.
Policies and plans of the Interior Department are not discussed in
Klamath Falls, so the sputtering of a few candidates will not affect
them even to a limited degree, so do not discuss matters with them.
In the January 15, 1913, letter Steel even more forcefully urged
Arant to resign, hinting that he had had communication with Interior
officials in Washington. He noted:
First will say, the Department feels very friendly to you, and at the
same time is anxious to do that which will be for the best interests of
the Park. Conditions, however, are such as to place the Honorable
Secretary in a very awkward position, hence he and certain other
officials of the Department are somewhat embarrassed.
The policy of the Democratic party has been announced in as far as it
pertains to federal offices outside of civil service, and you doubtless
know it is, that all such shall be given to faithful members of the
party as soon as they can be reached, and no time will be wasted in
reaching them. Aside from that, individual attention has been given to
the Superintendency of the Park by the Democratic Senators of Oregon,
and they do not deny that a change will be made.
These same Senators have said that on account of my long and
unremunerated service for the Park, that, if Mr. Fisher should appoint
me, that I will not be removed during the Wilson administration, but, if
no such appointment is made by the present administration they will
cause a change as soon after the 4th of March as they can reach the
These facts are known to Mr. Fisher and other leading Republicans,
all of whom would like, if possible, to keep the office in Republican
hands through the Wilson administration.
Now, if matters are allowed to drift much longer, it will be too late
for Mr. Fisher to act and the matter will be flatly on the Democratic
pie counter, in which case no attention whatever will be given to a
candidate's ability, or the best interests of the Park, and we must
expect an appointment similar to Mr. Momyer, which would be a positive
disaster not only to the Park, but to the entire state.
There are only two ways in which this can be prevented, and that is
either for you to resign, or for Mr. Fisher to remove you, and to the
latter course I feel there is positive objection, in that it is a
manifestation of force that conditions do not seem to justify, for I
feel that if you could but know the exact and all the conditions, you
would not hesitate for one instant to send in your resignation, for you
would not care to shoulder the responsibility of turning the office
over to Democratic manipulation, and particularly as you would
thus relieve the Honorable Secretary of embarrassment, and permit him to
as he desires in the premises.
Well informed men, including the Honorable Secretary, believe that
the Republican party will be returned to power in 1916, at which time
many members of the party who do not now contemplate it, will then feel
anxious for political preferment, and much will depend on their party
record for harmony. If
you have resigned in the interest of the party and the Park, your
record will simply be perfect, and a strong factor in your favor. If,
however, you have held your office so long as to cause it to fall into
Democratic hands, it may be construed as a reflection against you, and
thus seriously injure your changes. You know enough about politics to
realize that this is true.
Now a point that you may or may not know. Several years ago you were
slated for removal and a successor was agreed upon, when I interfered,
without consulting you, and prevented such a move. It seems to me that
under existing conditions, when you must know what everybody else knows,
that you will not be permitted to serve more than two or three months at
best, that you would be willing to resign, even if for no other reason
than that you thus strengthen your prospects with the party, to say
nothing of any gratitude to me.
It is not wholly a selfish desire on my part to bring this change to
pass now, for practically my whole life has been given to the creation
and welfare of the Crater Lake National Park, and I would consider it
nothing short of a genuine misfortune, to have a man like Momyer direct
affairs for four years or more. No one can prevent this but you, and you
can do it. In fact, conditions are such as that you cannot evade either
turning the management of the Park over to a Republican or a Democrat.
Which will you do?
Kindly give this matter your serious consideration, and remember that
if there is aught that I can do to help you I will do it, but at this
crisis the matter is wholly up to you. You' must shoulder the
responsibility. The Department is waiting on you and so are many friends
of the Park as well as some of our prominent Republicans.
Irked by these letters Arant replied to Steel on January 15 with a
cryptic note in which he reiterated his earlier statement that he would
not resign. He noted:
I have been giving the matters you mention some consideration but
cannot quite understand how it is that in case of a vacancy and your
appointment that you will not be disturbed by the incoming
administration, but that if I do not resign, the position of
superintendent of the park will "descend to the pie-counter of the
new administration" as you term it.
As to your having a pre-appointment understanding with the Department
of the Interior that you should sever your connection with the Crater
Lake Company and then become the
superintendent of the park, I can not conceive of it, but will say
that it would certainly be a most unusual thing.
Within several weeks the Portland and Rogue River Valley factions of
the Oregon Republican Party initiated a campaign to oust Arant in the
hope that Taft could appoint Steel as superintendent just before leaving
office. It was stated in newspaper accounts that this scheme would keep
the park superintendency in Republican hands for the duration of Wilson
s term in office because of Steel's political influence in Washington.
Arant, however, continued to refuse cooperation with such political
Aside from the purported merits of the proposed scheme it appears
that Steel had personal ambitions for the park superintendency and had
strong feelings that Arant was hindering park development. In a letter
to Oregon Democratic Senator George E. Chamberlain on March 1, several
weeks prior to Wilson's inauguration, Steel wrote:
I have the support of 86 out of 90 members of the Legislature (two
were out of the city, one refused to sign and one was not asked to do
so). I also have the leading banks and business men of Portland, the
Chairman of the Democratic State Central Committee, Mr. Jackson, of the
Journal, prominent members of both political parties and many other
reliable citizens of Oregon.
On my own account will say, my life has been devoted to making Crater
Lake famous, in doing which I have freely given of my substance and time
without hope of reward. Now, however, a crisis has arisen because of the
contemplated activity of the government, and the presence of an official
in charge, who is not in sympathy with the movement, and who is totally
unfitted by temperament, experience and otherwise, to secure the best
results from present conditions, so that if Crater Lake is to come into
its own, it is necessary to bring about an immediate change.
I have developed the proposition in the past and know the
possibilities of the future. More than that I know the danger of a
narrow, short-sighted policy at this time, which can only be overcome by
a change of Superintendents. By this I do not mean that I am the only
one who can get the best results, but merely that an immediate change is
necessary for the good of
the Park, and among the applicants I can get the best results,
because my heart is in the work, and I do not seek the place wholly
because of the paltry salary. Then, too, I feel that my long service
without compensation entitles me to consideration.
Already matters are drifting the wrong way for the season at hand,
and if a change is to be made at all, it ought to be made quickly, so
that the new man can make his own plans for field work. I have plans
already worked out for the present season, that I sincerely hope can be
put into execution for the good of the Park. I want the office as much
for the good of the Park and the state as for myself, so, it is fair to
say, I do not want it wholly for selfish purposes, and for that reason
have filed with the Honorable Secretary of the Interior a formal
application for the appointment.
You know, as well as I, that practically the entire population of the
state recognizes my claim and wishes me well in this matter.
Once the new administration was in office Chamberlain recommended
Steel to Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane for the position of
park superintendent at Crater Lake. On June 13 Lane formally requested
Arant's resignation and appointed Steel to the superintendency effective
July 1 . While Lane admitted that a Democrat from every Oregon county
had applied for the position, he stated that Steel "brings home the
Arant protested that he was in the classified civil service and
continued to defy Lane's order, transacting official business and
refusing to turn over possession of government property to Steel.
Finally in mid-July a U.S. Marshal and a deputy arrived at the park to
enforce the government's orders to remove Arant. The scene was described
by Steel to Senator Chamberlain on July 22:
. . . Friday evening Leslie Scott, U.S. Marshal, and one Deputy,
arrived from Portland to support me and enforce my orders as
Superintendent. Saturday morning we called on Arant, who was both
defiant and insolent. Against him was pitted the diplomacy and
determination of Scott, who showed great patience and constant wisdom.
After a time Arant was given until 8 o'clock Sunday morning, at which
time we again filed into the Superintendent's office in the
Headquarters building, where we found Mr. and Mrs. Arant, his brother, two sons
and his lawyer, a Mr. Carnahan, of Klamath Falls. Arant was as defiant
and insolent as ever.
Scott carefully explained conditions, asserted his authority, which
was denied by Arant's lawyer, and made very clear his determination to
enforce my orders as Superintendent, warned Arant and Carnahan of the
consequences of any interference, again showed great patience and
displayed rare diplomacy. When all other means had failed, I demanded
immediate possession of the office and all government property in the
Park, which was indignantly refused. I then ordered Arant's forcible
removal, when he swelled up and said, "I would like to see somebody
try to remove me from my own home." However, in less than one minute he
was passed through two doors and landed in the front yard. He returned
immediately and was again ejected without ceremony but with dispatch.
I instantly took possession of the desk and papers, following which a
generally turbulent condition continued until after 2 o'clock, when
Arant and his attorney realized that a cyclone had struck them and they
were effectually ousted. . . .
Parkhurst and Arant met at Fort Klamath yesterday, when Arant made an
unprovoked and disgraceful assault on Parkhurst in the presence of Mrs.
Arant, his brother and family, and one son are still here, by my
sufferance, occupying government buildings, while they finish a contract
of Arant's brother, to repair a bridge, work on which was commenced late
last season. It seems he has already received his pay, which at least
looks irregular. 
Subsequent to his forced removal as park superintendent, Arant
initiated legal proceedings against Lane. The courts, however, upheld
Lane's contention that Arant was a political appointee and as such
could be removed from office. 
After Steel had settled into his new job, he reflected on the
political struggle that had taken place. On August 16 he confided to a
Yes, I had quite a fight. In the first place my appointment was
bitterly opposed by the Southern Pacific, the Klamath Development
Company, a very rich California corporation that controls the Klamath
region and the Northwest Electric Company of Portland, another very rich
corporation. Besides that I was
opposed by four Democratic candidates, to say nothing of the then
incumbent. Notwithstanding the fact that I am a Republican and refused
to deny it, I had the support of the Democratic State Central Committee,
and leading Democratic politicians of the state, nearly all the banks
and business men of Portland, the leading Democratic newspapers as well
as the Republican, every member of the state government, including the
Supreme Court and every state commission, together with every member of
the Legislature but two, one of whom was not asked to sign the petition
and one refused. 
Years later Horace M. Albright confirmed the political background to
the appointment of Steel as park superintendent. In his The
Birth of the National Park Service: The Founding Years, 1913-33
Crater Lake's superintendent William F. Arent [sic] was a politician
who had begun his patronage job in 1902, and now needed to be replaced.
We hired Will Steel, who had virtually founded the park. . . . What
Steel lacked in administrative know-how he made up for with his love of
the land and his ability to work with the concessioners and the people
in the area. 
Excerpts from Inspector Edward W. Dixon's
Report on Park Operations and Conditions: 1912
The Superintendent's headquarters in the park (known as Camp Arant)
is located five miles in a Southerly direction from the lake at the head
of Anna Creek and at the intersection of the Medford and Klamath Falls
wagon roads. The post office of Crater Lake is established at this
point, which is open during the months of July, August and September,
when it is provided with a semi-weekly mail service. The building which
is the office and residence of the superintendent was found to be in
good condition. Other buildings at this point are two cottages, which
are during the season occupied by the park ranger and family and per
diem employees; shop and tool house; and barn 24 x 48 x 20 feet, and are
in good state of repair, though they require painting. The barn which is
especially well built, being constructed of heavy timbers so as to
withstand excessive weight of snow, was, it appears, never completed, as
between the boards on both sides and ends are large cracks, and the
necessary protection therefore is not afforded to stock, forage and
equipment supplies kept therein. . . .
RECORDS AND FILES
The records of the Superintendent's office are meagre and have so far
been kept regardless of any system. Letters from the Department were
found in envelopes in the different desk drawers, and copies of much of
the correspondence sent out were not obtainable. Two books of record
only were being used, viz: Automobile and Motorcycle Permit Book and
Register of Camping Parties. No account of an allotment of funds had
been kept in any book and no account of moneys collected
appeared anywhere except on stubs of the permit book, from which the
monthly statements were made up for transmission to the Department.
Suggestion was made to the Superintendent that he carefully keep an
itemized account of all moneys received by entering each item in a
blotter or day book and posting therefrom to a ledger, such ledger
account to be balanced each month by his deposit or remittance. I also
explained to him the manner in which accounts of the different
allotments should be kept and suggested that it hereafter be followed.
Mr. Arant appeared much interested in going over these matters with me,
saying no one had ever been there before to advise him, and expressed a
readiness to carry out the suggestions made with respect thereto. In
order that he may be able to do so, the office should be provided with
the necessary filing case and blank books. . . .
Two roads only lead into the reservation at the present time, one
from Medford and the other from Klamath Falls, each of which is used by
automobiles and horse-drawn vehicles. The distance to Crater Lake from
Medford is eighty-five miles, and from Klamath Falls, sixty-six miles.
From Klamath Falls to Fort Klamath are two roads, one on the east side
of Upper Klamath Lake via Agency Landing and Klamath Agency, and one on
the west side of said lake via Harriman Lodge, situated on Pelican Bay.
The latter road forks about fifteen miles above the lodge, one branch
intersecting the east side road at Fort Klamath, and the other
intersecting it about twelve miles below Camp Arant. . . . The point
where the park line is crossed by the Medford road is known as the
western entrance and the point where it is crossed by the Klamath Falls
road is known as the southern entrance. The road from Medford is a good
dirt and rock road and is kept up and constantly improved by Jackson
County. I traveled the length of this road in October last and found it
in good condition. The Klamath Falls roads are said to be fair to good,
the one on the east side of Upper Klamath Lake to Klamath Agency and
Fort Klamath being used more is, I understand, in little better
The road from Chiloquin, a station on the Natron cutoff of the
Southern Pacific Railroad, to which point the railroad from Klamath
Falls was constructed in June, 1912, is an old dirt road said to be in
fairly good condition. This road intersects the east side Klamath Falls
road at Klamath Agency the distance from Chiloquin to Crater Lake being
thirty-six miles. From Agency Landing, situated at the upper end of
Upper Klamath Lake, to Crater Lake is thirty-four miles, the route being
over the east side Klamath Falls road, the same road as the one from
Chiloquin above Klamath Agency. . . .
Tent camps located on the rim of the lake and near Crater Lake Lodge
(under construction) were in use last season, but on account of violent
storms prevalent in that vicinity they were found to be unsatisfactory
for the accommodation of visitors. A few days prior to my arrival,
nearly all the tents had been blown down or damaged by a severe wind
storm. The sanitary condition of these camps appeared to have been good,
and excellent water was obtained from the temporary hotel building near
by which received an abundant supply from a pipe line from a cold
spring. The lavatories consisted of out-buildings over sink holes and
were kept in proper condition by the use of air-slacked lime. Refuse
from the hotel and camps was buried in holes quite a distance away.
Because of the undesirability of tents for the sheltering of guests
who do not care to lodge in the hotel, the Crater Lake Company proposes
to erect in their place a number of six-room cottages. . . . As cottages
of this character will add to the convenience and comfort of visitors in
the park, construction thereof on Crater Lake Lodge Tract is hereby
recommended for approval.
CRATER LAKE LODGE
A hotel building to be known as Crater Lake Lodge, situated on the
Crater Lake Lodge Tract on the rim of the lake, is in course of
construction. The building has a frontage on the lake of 162 feet, and a
veranda 16 feet wide will run its full length. The center of the hotel
or "great hall" is 43 x 62 feet and will be four stories high; the
north wing is 32 x 50 feet, and will be three stories high; the south
wing is 32 x 50 feet, and will have four stories including basement
above ground, making it the same height as the north wing; and the west
wing, where will be the kitchen, is 27 x 41-1/2 feet, which will have
three stories including basement above ground. The first story of the
main building or center and of the north and south wings is constructed
of stone, while the remainder will be frame, the outside having English
half-timber effect. A feature of the hotel will be a large stone chimney
at one end having an outside fireplace, which is completed. It is
estimated that the stone work, which is the slow and expensive part of
the construction, is ninety percent completed, and that the entire
structure is forty percent completed. The construction so far is of
The inside arrangement provides for forty guest-rooms, great hall,
office and lobby, baggage room, men s parlor with lavatory adjoining,
women's parlor with lavatory adjoining, dining room, kitchen, and two
bath rooms and lavatories on each of the upper floors. The approximate
cost of the hotel completely furnished is $40,000.00. The hotel will be
supplied with water from a permanent spring 2500 feet south and 300 feet
below the level thereof, lifted by a hydraulic ram and conveyed by pipe
to a reservoir and thence to a pressure tank, both in the basement of
the building. It is intended later to install a small hydro-electric
plant by running a pipeline from said spring for the purpose of pumping
water to the hotel, lighting it, etc.
The sanitary feature of the hotel will be modern plumbing throughout.
All sewage will be piped into a large septic tank located about 200 feet
south of the building and outside the drainage area of the
water supply. Mr. Parkhurst has assured me he will resume work on the
hotel this season as early as the weather will permit, and that he will
make every effort to complete it by October 1. This in my opinion will
be more than he can accomplish owing to the very short working season in
that locality and the distance all material must be hauled. Should he be
able to enclose the building this year and complete one wing for
occupancy, it would seem he would be doing extremely well.
The building in use temporarily for hotel purposes is 30 x 40 feet,
and under present plans will be converted into a sixteen-room house for
the accommodation of visitors upon completion of Crater Lake Lodge. . . .
AUTOMOBILE TRANSPORTATION PERMITS
The matter of operating automobile transportation lines in Crater
Lake National Park appears to be one in which during the past year
officials of the Crater Lake Company and the Klamath Development
Company, of Klamath Falls, have taken a somewhat active part resulting
to a certain extent! apparently, in strained relations between the two
The Crater Lake Company has for the past three years been granted an
annual permit to conduct an automobile, passenger service in the park,
which it appears was maintained as follows:
Season of 1910:
Operated steamer Klamath from Klamath Falls to Agency Landing, where
connection was made with automobile; daily service. Also maintained
daily automobile service from Medford for one and one-half months, when
line was abandoned on account of the physical condition of the road.
Season of 1911:
Operated steamer Klamath from Klamath Falls to Rocky Point Landing,
on Pelican Bay, where connection was made with
automobile; daily service except Sunday. Also maintained semi-weekly
automobile service from Medford for two months, when the machines were
withdrawn on account of the physical condition of the roads.
Season of 1912:
Maintained semi-weekly automobile service from Medford throughout
the season, road good. Made three round trips a week by automobile from
Chiloquin, on new line of Southern Pacific Company, meeting all trains.
Made special trips by automobile from Agency Landing; no regular boat
service to landing last year. . . .
Referring to a letter written on behalf of the Klamath Development
Company by Stratton, Kaufman & Torchiana, of San Francisco,
transmitted to the Department by Senator Perkins, and particularly to
the statement therein that "Parkhurst is unable to handle the
service and has but a few cars--not in good condition," you are advised
that Mr. Parkhurst has furnished me with the number, kind and power of
cars owned and hired by the Crater Lake Company and operated by it in
transporting passengers to and from the park during the last three
seasons, which are as follows:
Season of 1910.
Owned one 40 horsepower Locomobile, seven-passenger.
Owned one 50 horsepower Matheson, seven-passenger.
Owned one 40 horsepower Stoddard-Dayton, seven-passenger.
Hired one 40 horsepower Studebaker-Garford, seven passenger.
Hired one 40 horsepower Locomobile, seven passenger.
Season of 1911:
Owned one 40 horsepower Locomobile, seven passenger.
Owned one 50 horsepower Matheson, seven-passenger.
Owned one 40 horsepower Stoddard-Dayton, seven passenger.
Season of 1912:
Owned one 40 horsepower Locomobile, seven-passenger.
Owned one 50 horsepower Matheson, seven passenger.
Hired two 40 horsepower Ramblers, seven-passenger.
Mr. Parkhurst assured me that these cars were kept in good repair and
in serviceable condition at all times. He further stated that the Crater
Lake Company offered to run an automobile between Harriman Lodge and
Crater Lake last season whenever there would be four or more passengers.
During the season of 1913 the Crater Lake Company contemplates
furnishing a daily automobile service from Chiloquin to the
lake--thirty-six miles--and special automobile service from Medford to
the lake--eight-five miles--though on this line Mr. Parkhurst has stated
the company is prepared to establish and maintain any service the
Department may require.
As it appears to be the intention of the Southern Pacific Company to
operate daily trains via Klamath Falls to Chiloquin this season, and
having assured the Crater Lake Company, I understand, that it will
co-operate with it, giving much better service to that point than last
year- -which was the first year trains were run over this portion of the
road--the Chiloquin route to Crater Lake is unquestionably the most
practical and convenient at the present time, and should meet the
demands of persons desiring to visit the lake from Klamath Falls and
vicinity, the distance by rail from Klamath Falls to Chiloquin being but
While there will be, apparently, no necessity for an automobile
service from Harriman Lodge or Agency Landing to Crater Lake this
season, inasmuch as people at the lodge can easily go to Chiloquin via
Klamath Falls by boat and rail, the President of the Crater Lake Company
has advised me that, if his company is able to co-operate with the
Klamath Development Company, it will run an automobile from Harriman
Lodge twice a week provided four passengers at least are assured for
each trip, or it will make two round trips a week from Agency
October 11, 1912, when at San Francisco, I called upon Mr. S.0.
Johnson, Vice President of the Klamath Development Company, with
whom I conferred regarding automobile passenger service to Crater Lake and
the requirement, if any, for a renewal during the season of 1913 of the
permit issued to his company during the season of 1912 to operate
automobiles in the Crater Lake National Park. Mr. Johnson stated that
the Klamath Development Company would make formal application for a
renewal of said permit and that it should be granted for the following
reasons: That his company had gone to large expense in constructing the
White Pelican hotel at Klamath Falls and in fitting up Harriman Lodge
situated on Pelican Bay, between which points it maintained a boat
service; that many people desired to visit Crater Lake from the lodge,
the distance being forty-five miles, and in his opinion the best route;
and that those who wished to do so could make the round trip from the
lodge in one day. In further conversation with him he was asked if it
would not be to the detriment of the concessioner's hotel business at
Crater Lake should he rush visitors up there and back to Harriman Lodge
(his company's hotel) the same day, to which he replied there was no
place to the lake for visitors to stop over night and little, if
anything, for them to eat. As to the accommodations at the lake, Mr.
Johnson evidently had been misinformed, as having at that time just come
from there myself, I am able to say visitors were well taken care of at
the Crater Lake Company's temporary hotel which was provided with
comfortable beds, and its table supplied with an ample quantity of
wholesome food. The reasons advanced by Mr. Johnson for a renewal of
said permit would appear to be wholly insufficient, as in fact the road
from Harriman Lodge to Crater Lake, while not the shortest route, is by
no means the best, and there is no evidence of a desire on the part of
park visitors to travel over this route. Furthermore it would seem the
Government is not interested in exploiting hotels at Harriman Lodge,
Klamath Falls or elsewhere. Inasmuch as the Crater Lake Company, which
conducts the hotel business in the park, is in position to furnish such
automobile passenger service as will meet the demands of visitors
entering the park at either the western or southern entrance, there
appears to be no reason why the application of the Klamath Development
Company for renewal of its transportation permit should be granted, and
it is therefore recommended that it be denied.
Mr. Parkhurst, of the Crater Lake Company, has by the expenditure of
a large amount of his individual funds, shown commendable faith in the
future of Crater Lake National Park as a tourist resort, and his
company, which has entered into the twenty-year lease hereinbefore
referred to, would appear to be entitled to liberal consideration. It is
therefore recommended that a permit to transport passengers in and
through the Crater Lake National Park be issued to the Crater Lake
Company for a period of five years, instead of one year, providing there
is no objection due to administrative reasons.
Edward W. Dixon, Inspector to Secretary of the Interior, February 15,
1913, RG 79, Central Files, 1907-39, File No. 204.010, Part 1,
Crater Lake Inspectors By Field Officers.
Last Updated: 13-Aug-2010