National Park Service
Crater lake Phantom Ship
Design and Construction of Circuit Roads
Construction of Rim Drive
Other Designed Features along Rim Drive
Postwar Changes
Design and Construction of Approach Roads
Construction and Use of Other Roads

History of Rim Drive
Wizard Island

Wizard Island from the Watchman Overlook.

Construction of Rim Drive

Segment 7-A (Rim Village to Diamond Lake Junction)

With roughly $250,000 allotted for grading just shy of 6 miles between Rim Village and the Diamond Lake Junction, BPR advertised for bids on May 1, 1931. P.L. Crooks Construction Company of Portland was awarded the contract and began work in June by establishing their camp near the Devil's Backbone. Work proceeded quickly from Rim Village, with roughly one quarter of the job completed in only three weeks.

The contractor's workforce of ninety men (increased to 125 by mid-July) soon began to encounter rougher terrain, where blasting and other means were needed to move more than 50,000 cubic yards of rock per mile. Just the first four rock cuts (which averaged 35' in depth) consumed over half of the estimated 150,000 pounds of powder as needed for the entire job. The remaining seven cuts were not thought to be so difficult, with the exception of one running by the Watchman Overlook that measured over 90' deep.

In early July, the NPS made note that four steam shovels were working to widen the existing road while "every effort" went toward retaining "as much of the natural beauty of [this] section as possible." One of the measures taken limited the contractor to small quantities of powder when blasting, thus throwing rock into the roadway rather than the "right of way." This method facilitated more effective debris removal by truck and reduced the length of fill faces, while preserving vegetation. Crews dug trenches at the toe of fills to hold rocks from rolling further down slope, and protected tree trunks with planking to prevent injury from flying rocks. The contractor later modified this practice through using worn truck tires, placing one on top of the other around tree trunks. This practice protected the trunk on all sides and allowed crews to move the tires from one rock cut to another as blasting progressed.

With all of the anticipated blasting and rock removal, the NPS tried to warn potential visitors about finding "some inconvenience" and advised them to take the "east drive" in preference to the west, even forecasting that the latter might be closed for two week intervals beginning in August. Despite this gloomy prediction, traffic flow on the west rim remained "unhampered" throughout the season. Much of the reason lay in constructing contiguous cuts and fills in half sections, thereby permitting the passage of vehicles. The project even allowed inauguration of the Rim Caravan that summer, a regularly scheduled excursion conducted by ranger naturalists that featured half of its sixteen stops within the first 6 miles of road beyond Rim Village.

By November 1, the job stood at approximately 75 percent complete. This was despite utilizing "as much hand labor as possible" to help alleviate local unemployment problems. Two of the heaviest cuts (one being around the Watchman Overlook) remained for the 1932 season, yet the four months spent on the job that summer did not quite bring it to completion. Aside from some finish grading, most of the remaining work related to landscape items. These, however, remained limited in comparison to subsequent grading contracts on other segments of Rim Drive. Old road obliteration, for example, took place only where abandoned sections touched on the new roadway. Consequently, long pieces of the old Rim Road remained plainly visible from high points such as the Watchman or Hillman Peak.

This somewhat patchy approach to landscape work also applied to the masonry items. Whereas the contractor saw the culvert headwalls to completion, only 250 yards of retaining wall and guardrail were built. The latter work during the grading contract came on the Watchman grade, where the NPS had the most concern for safety. The need for additional masonry wall along the road margins commanded sufficient attention, such that the NPS referred to the next contract as "Surfacing and Guardrail" when BPR advertised for bidders in the summer of 1932.

Rim Drive
West Rim Drive is shown below (at left); the route of its predecessor, the old Rim Road-- is now part of a hiking trail along the rim.

Although a surfacing contract was awarded that fall, the successful bidder (Homer Johnson Company of Portland) did not begin work until August 1933 due to a record snow year. Barely two months elapsed before the onset of winter suspended the job, but unusually dry conditions allowed work to resume in April 1934. It proceeded quickly enough for final inspection of the surfacing to take place less than six months later, mainly because the Johnson plant produced 550 tons of crushed rock per day.

A subcontractor, Angelo Doveri of Klamath Falls, handled construction of the guardrails. The resident landscape architect for the season of 1934, Armin Doerner, described a slow start during the late spring and early summer. He found that different workmen each tried to express "his own ideas about masonry," so it proved difficult to obtain "a uniform type of wall" at first. When Doerner and the BPR inspector finally agreed on the style wanted, the work improved and proceeded at a faster pace. Sargent and Doerner agreed to the locations of the walls, starting with two relatively short ones near Rim Village and another of some 500' in length at the Discovery Point Overlook. By the final inspection in October, Doerner thought the guardrails had a "very pleasing" appearance aside from some imperfections. One was the trimming, which made it difficult to obtain the specified amount of weathered surface. Achieving the desired variety of color in the walls became problematic when quarrying all of the rock from the same locality.

The surfacing contract did not include enough funding to provide masonry guardrail to line the outer edge of each viewpoint, nor at the road margin where 7-A had been located along a precipice. Engineers tried to mitigate the latter problem by banking the road toward the inside slope, as they did along parts of the Watchman grade. The lack of guardrail, however, became even more noticeable at the Diamond Lake Overlook near Hillman Peak, a viewpoint whose outer edge had initially been delineated with irregularly spaced boulders having jutted ends. Its appearance put this substation markedly out of character with the rest of Rim Drive, so Lange prevailed on a CCC crew who partly buried treated logs to line the outer edge of the overlook in 1936. Each of the logs was hewn at its ends to provide better visual transition when spaced at regular intervals, since Lange hoped to bring weathered boulders to the site and alternate them with the logs. This treatment represented something of a stopgap measure in the absence of masonry guardrail, but it functioned as a better alternative than more crude barriers.

Doerner criticized another flaw in the surfacing phase of road construction in 7-A in 1934. He took aim at certain daylighted cuts (ones where equipment created open areas devoid of vegetation) that became pullouts once they had been surfaced with crushed rock. Not only were these unintentional additions superfluous since plenty of stopping places had been provided in the plans, but their appearance was so unsightly that Doerner wanted the surface material removed. He wrote that these flat areas should be allowed to grow over with a natural ground cover, since apparently there was no way to haul additional material to these sites and obliterate the pullout by bank sloping. The only obliteration stipulated in the surfacing contract for 7-A aimed at removing the quarry and crusher site from view, along with cleaning up the camp located near Devil's Backbone. Johnson's reluctance to do the latter may have stemmed from plans that targeted some of the camp buildings being used for the paving phase of road construction during the summer of 1935.

BPR awarded the contract for paving 7-A to J.C. Compton of McMinnville, who then started giving the road a bituminous surface treatment. This job consisted of several steps, with the first being the spreading of aggregate (or "prime coat," as Lange called it). The laying of a bituminous "mat" of at least 3" in depth came next, one extending over the entire roadway and parking areas. Lange thought the black color of the mat fit "well with the surrounding country," and remarked how it presented a "fine appearance in relation to existing natural features." The last step in the paving contract started with application of a seal coat or wearing course to a width of 18' in accordance with federal highway standards of 1932. Its black color was then altered with a fine coat of rock, which upon rolling and brushing, yielded what Lange called a "uniform medium gray color." The contractor completed this step on segment 7-A by October 1935, but returned the following year to finish a related paving job (on the North Entrance Road, route 8) and restore the site of his construction camp located near Devil's Backbone.

Road striping did not come until 1938, but was in accordance with earlier advice from Lange, who advised that a "yellow, or similar colored line" could serve the purpose. He did not favor a continuous line over the entire road, but rather use of the stripe on curves or other areas in need of such marking to insure the safety of motorists.

Segment 7-B (Diamond Lake Junction to Grotto Cove)

Pre-advertising for bids on grading the stretch of road from the Diamond Lake (North) Junction to the point half a mile past Wineglass took place in the fall of 1932. Insufficient funding prevented letting a contract until September of the following year, at which time the award went to the firm of Von der Hellen and Pierson of Medford. The contractors went to work in October 1933, but BPR suspended the job upon the first snowfall several weeks later. In contrast to what NPS crews accomplished prior to the contract award in segment 7-A, the clearing and grubbing of 7-B became the contractor's responsibility. They moved ahead on the basis of plans calling for a roadway of 22' with a ditch 3' wide. Another contract had to be let, this time to Dunn and Baker of Klamath Falls, in order to widen the roadway another 2'. This change was the result of a visit to the park by Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes in July 1934.

Much of the work performed on the first grading contract in 7-B took place during the long summer season of 1934. Von der Hellen and Pierson set up camp near the Wineglass at a secluded spot where water could be pumped from the lake some 650' below them. In contrast to grading segment 7-A, the grading contract for 7-B required comparatively little blasting and hauling of rock. The contractors could thus use caterpillar tractors and scrapers in handling the pumice material. They had some assistance from the final located line that called for five tangents of various lengths, but with several rock cuts required as part of preventing overly heavy curvature in the alignment. Doerner gave Von der Hellen and Pierson high marks for not scattering stumps beyond the clearing limits (or "right of way") when blasting stumps, despite the road being characteristically close to the rim in many places. He also commented on the care taken with dumping rock at the ends of deep fills so that deep trenches at the bottom of fill slopes might catch debris from rolling any further. The contractors then used plenty of soil to completely cover the rock at the bottom of such fills.

Subsequent widening of the roadway began in September 1934, but Dunn and Baker found it impossible to take the same protective measures. In many places crews brought the rock back up slope by hand after it damaged trees. The road widening meant that Von der Hellen and Pierson could disregard some of the required bank sloping and shoulder rounding. Similar to the previous grading contract for 7-A, however, these contractors still had responsibility for other kinds of landscape work. Doerner reported that the masonry retaining walls and culvert headwalls in 7-B displayed good workmanship during the long season of 1934, though completion of these items did not come until the following summer.

Most of the old road obliteration in 7-B came in 1935, when Von der Hellen and Pierson hired a landscape foreman under Lange's supervision. As resident landscape architect for the NPS, Lange saw an obliteration program to be "of immediate value to the natural appearance of new road construction" because it went beyond planting the ends of old road segments as was done during the grading of 7-A. With a crew of four to ten men, the landscape foreman planted approximately 100 whitebark pine and fifty lodgepole pine over 1.2 miles of old roadbed in 1935. The difficult growing conditions meant that some 75 cubic yards of soil covering was used in conjunction with a scheme that included spreading duff and small branches so as to eventually produce a "uniform" line of planting "unnoticeable to all but those accustomed to the old road location." Lange took a number of photographs to show the effectiveness and appearance of such efforts, as part of his plan to obliterate 10 miles of old road. He estimated this multi-year project needed roughly 5,000 trees as well as 2,000 loads of soil, and required the services of two or three foremen and twenty laborers.

Grading and widening the roadway also necessitated what Lange called "special planting" aimed at large slopes exposed by construction. The foreman and his crew treated two sections of 7-B in 1935, with the first located near the Wineglass road camp where they treated a cut slope with some trees and dark soil so as to diminish the intensity of the vivid red color seen from Cloudcap. Work began by digging parallel trenches filled with mountain hemlock branches to hold the "new soil" and aid establishment of trees transplanted at the site. This procedure was also used to conceal a white line created by grading near Steel Point that could be seen from the Crater Lake Lodge.

Production of surfacing material for 7-B started even before the successful bidder, A. Milne of Portland, began opening a quarry near the Wineglass road camp in September 1935. The contractor set up a crushing plant there, an operation that Lange described as well screened from the road. It could produce a relatively large amount of material at 1,500 tons per day when running at capacity during the short working season. Once the plant at the Wineglass road camp produced sufficient quantities for both 7-B and 7-C, virtually all of the actual surfacing with crushed rock took place in 1936. With the paving of those road segments not due until 1938, BPR advised the NPS that maintenance crews should apply a light oil treatment in the interim to prevent loss of the soft rock quarried and processed for surfacing material at the road camp.

Milne's subcontractor for the masonry guardrails made good progress in only two months on the job in 1935, completing almost half of the stipulated 450 lineal yards in segment 7-B. Lange seemed pleased with the pace at which work on the guardrails proceeded, but he commented that the first sections of wall built where the road first touched the rim east of Llao Rock were not entirely satisfactory. Within a short time, however, he remarked about how this item became "exceedingly well done" and included photographs in his annual report of some representative guardrails from this road segment.

Failure to provide such barriers, especially where the road ran close to a precipice concerned Lange, though he did not cast blame for the oversight. He instead called for the NPS or BPR to provide some rule for such areas in future contracts, whether the remedy lay in masonry wall or partially buried logs in combination with seated boulders. Since funds for additional masonry guardrail seemed out of the question, logs treated with creosote of varying lengths were placed to line road margins where the danger appeared to be the most acute. Lange preferred logs to alternate with boulders and produced a drawing to that effect, but the BPR district engineer did not believe that estimates in the existing advertised contract allowed for the cost of gathering and placing boulders. Lange nevertheless wanted spaces left between the logs in order to allow for the future introduction of boulders as part of a subsequent contract, so the installation of these barriers proceeded accordingly in 1936. Logs were also used to define islands in what Lange called "traffic control areas" at road junctions. The surfacing contract provided for treating the Diamond Lake Junction with partially buried logs having chamfered ends and some planting once fine grading of the site had been completed as part of the surfacing contract.

Segments 7-C and 7-C1 (Grotto Cove to Kerr Notch)

Available funds for letting a grading contract from Grotto Cove and the summit of Cloudcap in September 1933, plus short-term uncertainty over the L-line near Mount Scott, resulted in splitting segment 7-C away from what was now called (for contracting purposes, at least) 7-C1. The grading contract for 7-C and the spur road to Cloudcap (4.4 miles in all) went to Dunn and Baker, who were also awarded the contract for widening 7-B and 7-C in 1934. It made for a smooth transition, especially since this firm had the benefit of a long working season that year.

Clearing and grubbing were included within the bid items for grading 7-C, just as they had been for the previous segment. Other similarities to previous grading contracts were items like the masonry headwalls for culverts and the limited amount of old road obliteration. Dunn and Baker experienced more difficulty than Von der Hellen and Pierson with rocks rolling beyond the toe of fills during blasting operations. Some damage, for example, resulted when in an accidental overcharge of powder sent a large quantity of rock below a cut near Scott Bluffs. Having to repair the damage made the most challenging part of rough grading even slower, since the stipulated light shooting had to be followed by construction of a retaining wall. Superintendent Canfield described these rock formations as difficult, but ones that the contractors handled efficiently and in the same manner as those in segment 7-A.

After completing most of the items as part of widening 7-B and 7-C, Dunn and Baker went to work during the summer of 1935 grading one of two units in segment 7-C1. This section of 1.5 miles extended from the Cloudcap Junction (where the spur road to the summit diverges from Rim Drive) to Sentinel Rock. Von der Hellen and Pierson, meanwhile, started grading the other unit of 7-C1 (a section of 2.4 miles of road between Sentinel Rock and Kerr Notch) that summer after having finished grading in 7-B.

All the rough grading in 7-C and 7-C1 meant that the amount of landscape work accomplished during the 1935 season was relatively small, apart from subcontractors finishing the culvert headwalls and some planting related to old road obliteration in the Cloudcap vicinity. Lange made a point, however, of describing two associated problems that rose to the top of his list to correct over the following summer. One resulted from cuts where one side of the cut was too low in height to be properly sloped. He acknowledged that a number of landscaped parking areas were necessary for visitors to enjoy the scenery and make repairs to their vehicles if necessary, but any proliferation of unintended parking areas detracted from Rim Drive being able to harmonize with its surroundings. Lange wanted these areas converted into slope banks where at all possible, and then showed an example of the recommended treatment in his annual report for 1936.

An even larger problem stemmed from daylighting prominent viewpoints in 7-C for fill material, thereby compounding the challenge of having to obliterate old road on soils that tested virtually sterile. Lange began making an argument for extensive landscape treatment of what he began to call "parking overlooks" in 7-C and 7-C1 as part of his season ending report for 1935. He pointed to certain examples, such as the excessive daylighting at Skell Head, in identifying five localities for special landscape treatment as part of a future surfacing contract.

Lange made preliminary sketches of five parking overlooks, going somewhat beyond what had become the standard treatment for viewpoints along Rim Drive. In addition to masonry guardrail to delineate the edge of the rim for motorists, Lange added a bituminous walk running the full length of the wall as well as a stone curb to separate the viewing platform from parking. Each of the five overlooks featured an island defined by a combination of weathered boulders and logs so as to protect a small amount of planting that consisted of native shrubs and trees. He argued that the islands helped to diminish the size of each of the daylighted overlooks, thereby placing each of them into proper scale in relation to Rim Drive. The islands also provided greater safety by separating motorists using the road from those leaving or entering each overlook.

Rim Drive
Interpretive marker and parapet wall at Skell Head.

After describing how the stations located along Rim Drive might appear in his season-ending report for 1935, Lange obtained topography and other engineering data from BPR for the parking overlooks over the following summer. Whereas segments 7-A and 7-B had so far represented missed opportunities to properly develop the stations and substations along Rim Drive through the contracting process, Lange wanted to show what could be achieved at viewpoints located in 7-C and 7-C1. He included photographs in his reports of progress made at four parking overlooks in 7-C through the surfacing contract (the same one awarded to Milne for 7-B) during 1936, with each showing how the masonry guardrail looked in relation to logs used for demarcating the islands. Although still in the rough grading stage of construction, Lange anticipated similar landscape treatments at four parking overlooks in segment 7-C1. Rejection of bids for the 7-C1 surfacing contract in the fall of 1936 proved to be an eventual boon to the development of the parking overlooks, since BPR subsequently doubled the amount available for landscaping these viewpoints. The move reflected the need to transport and place weathered boulders, as well as the use of topsoil, peat, and fertilizers as soil amendments prior to planting some 400 trees and 600 shrubs at the parking overlooks. Lange produced site plans for seven overlooks located between the Wineglass and Kerr Notch that were formally approved in December 1936 and then incorporated in the revised set of plans, specifications, and engineering estimates used to solicit bids at the end of June 1937.

BPR awarded the surfacing contract for 7-C1 to the Portland firm of Saxton, Looney, and Risley in July, with the job getting underway in late August. The contractors made relatively quick work of spreading a base course over the 4 miles of this road segment, completing it in the fall of 1937. The landscape component was only half finished by the end of the season, even though the two foremen who reported to Lange directed a crew of twelve laborers. Planting required hauling topsoil and peat from "pits" located near Park Headquarters, in addition to using 3 tons of fertilizer obtained in Klamath Falls. Lange described preparation of the planting beds as a base of peat, to be followed by placing shrubs or trees, with topsoil and fertilizer put "around but not too close to the root system." Duff was then scattered throughout the immediate vicinity of the planting. Crews followed the same procedure when planting at the parking overlooks during the 1938 season, although this time they were under the supervision of new foremen. They planted a total of 625 trees, as well as 2,300 shrubs and plants at the viewpoints over two summers.

The masons, meanwhile, added to guardrail previously completed in 7-C by finishing another 750 lineal feet of guardrail in 7-C1 that season. They also continued to place what Lange described as "excellent stone curbing" at the overlooks, in addition to the weathered boulders indicated on the site plans. Lange also assisted the masons by providing a working drawing for steps leading to a trail at Sentinel Point and a sketch for the stone drinking fountain installed at Kerr Notch. The additional touch of paving walks at four parking overlooks in 7-C came as part of the paving contract awarded in June 1938 to Warren Northwest, a construction company with regional offices in Portland.

The contractor erected its plant at the Wineglass road camp over the following month, situating it so as to be equidistant from both ends of a job that called for paving approximately 12 miles of Rim Drive between the Diamond Lake Junction to the road summit atop Cloudcap. In contrast to the work completed in 1936 along the 6 miles of 7-A, this contract included paving "gutters" in accordance with guidance developed by Thomas E. Carpenter, deputy chief architect for the NPS. His work reflected a trend toward shallower ditches requiring less maintenance, given that the bituminous paving acted as a seal against run off that might otherwise disintegrate surfacing material used to protect a road's subgrade. The gutters were to work in concert with catch basins or inlets connected to culverts placed underneath the road at regular intervals. For this contract the "invert" was set at 5" below the seal coat, with an actual level depth of 3" in the paved gutter. Lange commented that the gutters had an "excellent appearance" in his report for September 1938, but the contractor returned in 1939 to do additional sealing because cold weather the previous fall caused some cracking.

With the paving contract essentially completed, Lange used a number of photos in his season-ending report for 1938 to show how landscape treatments improved typical road sections in 7-B and 7-C. In contrast to the numerous landscape items left unfinished in 7-A, both of the latter segments exhibited good examples of old road obliteration, bank sloping, and special landscape treatments such as adding dark soil to reduce scars. Paving and placement of catch basins in conjunction with the placement of backfill for gutters seemed to signify that the new Rim Drive was "rapidly becoming a reality," with all work projected to be finished in the fall of 1940. Lange made a point of depicting the finished parking overlooks in 7-C and 7-C1 since they demonstrated how to rehabilitate damaged areas while properly developing the observation stations and substations. The only thing missing from 7-C1 was the paving, but it went to the top of Superintendent Leavitt's funding requests for roads and trails beginning in 1939.

Segment 7-D (Kerr Notch to Sun Notch)

Formal adoption of the so-called "combination line" in December 1935 pushed BPR to finalize plans to locate Rim Drive between Kerr Notch and Sun Notch. Instead of "skirting" Dutton Ridge as the official press release had claimed, the road location required major cuts on both sides. The large amount of excavation anticipated caused BPR to split 7-D into two grading contracts, with 7-D1 originally projected to encompass about 2.7 miles from Kerr Notch to a point on the south side of Dutton Ridge where the road would crest. The lowest bid on this first contract, one that required a staggering 176,000 cubic yards of excavation, was rejected in July 1936 since it was considerably above the engineer's estimate. The need to make an award within existing allotments led to another advertisement for bids a month later, this time with the distance of 7-D1 reduced to just over 2 miles. The contract went to Orino Construction of Spokane, who then set up camp on Sand Creek in Kerr Valley and began its clearing operations. Dunn and Baker, meanwhile, won the contract for grading the next 2.9 miles of road. This included both 7-D2 (which ran from the end of Orino's contract on Dutton Ridge over to Sun Notch) and the adjoining 7-E1. They could do little more than establish camp on Vidae Creek before the construction season came to an end.

With the grading contract for 7-D1 estimated to be some 70 percent excavation, Lange warned that the job required extremely careful measures to protect trees. He made special reference to fill material, which could escape in areas dominated by long and continuous slopes. With blasting operations imminent in July 1937, Lange described how the ground cover of willows and other plants located beyond the grading line were already being struck by falling material. It upset him enough to write that the location for 7-D should never have been approved because of the resulting damage, though this sentence was subsequently scratched out on his report.

Blasting by Orino over the next few weeks gave Lange and resident engineer Struble almost opposite impressions. Whereas Struble described the contractor's progress as unsatisfactory due to extreme care taken with type "B" excavation, Lange wrote about Orino permitting a number of excessive shots not in accordance with instructions from BPR. Slides traveled, he observed, far below the necessary line of repose. This damaged trees to such an extent that the majority had to be removed. Crews pruned trees where blasted material hit their tops, while cuts were treated with creosote if the damage did not require removal. Lange gradually prevailed upon Struble to require Orino to protect trees in subsequent blasting by shooting with less powder. The difficulty of grading in such terrain, however, made complete protection "almost impossible," even when trees from the roadway were placed against those situated below the grading line.

Cuts represented another aspect of rough grading that detracted from what Lange had described as an area that was "originally admired for its stately and primitive character." One of these measured approximately 145' to the roadbed from the crest of the cut, causing falling rocks to be a constant danger due to so much loose material on Dutton Cliff. An "epidemic" of minor accidents kept the park physician busy, such that Leavitt noted that the men hired by Orino seemed especially prone to broken ribs. Not only were equipment operators vulnerable, but also those men working on several hundred feet of hand placed retaining wall. Lange described the wall as necessary in order to give the roadway its designed width of 24'. He especially liked how it blended with the surroundings from the point above Kerr Notch, writing that the massive rocks obtained in the cuts were well selected for color and uneven faces.

The difficulties encountered by Orino in grading 7-D1 during the 1937 season (his crews consumed more than 60 percent of the allotted time, yet completed only a third of the job) contrasted markedly with how Dunn and Baker fared in 7-D2. The south and west sides of Dutton Ridge and the area above Sun Meadow required about 50 percent rock work, but the contractors found it easier than what engineers had estimated. Progress on grading 7-D2 stood at almost full completion by October 1937, with only finish grading and some landscape details expected for the following season. Lange identified "very little" damage to trees, either in burning those cleared from the roadway or during grading operations. He described how log cribbing used on this job reduced injury to standing trees and noted that the contractors retrieved all of the rocks passing beyond the desired point of repose at the toe of each fill.

Lange seemed particularly pleased with the masonry features along 7-D2, making special reference to what later became known as "spillways," in his season-ending report for 1937. He included a photograph showing a floor laid to catch run off derived from continual seepage on slopes, to be connected with culverts as part of cross drainage. The masonry component of this grading contract was otherwise limited to building culvert headwalls, most of which appeared along the south side of Dutton Ridge, where snowmelt created seasonal drainage.

Rim Drive
East Rim Drive along Dutton Cliff with the Pinnacles Road below it.

Guardrails were to be part of the surfacing contract, but Lange could not help noticing how the road location he so heavily criticized opened some fine views along this section of Rim Drive. After securing topographic data from BPR, he prepared sketches for parking areas like Sun Notch along 7-D2. The parking areas became part of finish grading in 1938, as did additional bank sloping and covering a portion of the scar on Sun Grade with dark soil.

Orino completed most of the rough grading in 7-D1 during the 1938 season, but all of the time allotted for the contract had long since elapsed. A somewhat sympathetic Lange explained that the number and size of the retaining walls needed along the eastern side of Dutton Ridge justified a contract extension. The hand placed walls begun in 1937, for example, were placed on each end of a masonry wall to span one of the fills. Others required masonry walls roughly 25' in height, with one noteworthy example exceeding twice that measurement.

The fills settled sufficiently for construction of masonry guardrail to move forward as part of the grading contract for 7-D1 during the 1939 season. Lange expressed some hesitancy in allowing Orino to extract rock from the Watchman for some 3,000 lineal feet of guardrail, but he and Leavitt relented once the contractor agreed to use a heavy crane for obtaining material. This method eliminated new "tote" roads and other construction impacts associated with reopening a quarry that had been "restored" since 1936. Struble thought the guardrail component was especially well organized during the summer of 1939, especially since the masons had completed the job by August 20. Lange saw the rock selection and workmanship as very good, commenting on how the guardrail had been introduced to "best advantage, resulting in varying curves to fit the terrain."

In his season-ending report for 1939, Lange called the provisions for protecting the landscape in 7-D1 "commendable" despite his misgivings about the road's location. Damaged trees were removed, pruned, or had cuts created by flying rock treated with creosote. Other measures included special planting on slopes below the fills so as to reduce future damage from rock fall on the East Entrance Road, as well as some fairly extensive bank sloping and regrading as part of old road obliteration around Kerr Notch. Several small items had to be deferred to future contracts, with one example being Lange's proposal to plant the areas adjoining each of the three spillways in 7-D1 so as to better "reproduce" the natural stream bed adjoining the road.

After inviting bids for surfacing 7-D along with segment 7-E in August 1939, BPR awarded the contract to Orino several weeks later. Although largely devoid of landscape items, this job included a provision for building more than 300 cubic yards of masonry guardrail in 7-D2. The contract centered on producing aggregate for the next two phases of construction, so Orino set up a rock crushing plant in June 1940 not far from the camp he occupied along Sand Creek during the grading contract.

The nearby quarry yielded enough rock for a base and top course of surfacing material and some 27,000 tons of aggregate to be stockpiled for future paving of the remaining segments of Rim Drive. This "leg up" approach to paving left a mere $70,000 needed for plant mix, labor, and equipment to place a bituminous surface on segments 7-C1, 7-D, and 7-E. The paving job represented the final piece after the government had spent a little more than $2 million in contracts for building Rim Drive since 1931. Difficulties with obtaining equipment for the rock crusher, however, hindered progress on the surfacing contract so that production of aggregate was not completed until September 1941. In the mean time, the contractor applied a "double prime bituminous surface treatment" to the unsealed roadbed as a temporary measure for carrying traffic until such time that actual paving took place.

American involvement in World War II allowed for only enough funding to remove slides that resulted during the winter of 1941-42. With paving put on indefinite hold, the suggested treatment of the parking areas became a forgotten item. Lange used a photo to depict one such stopping place in 7-D1 as part of his final report at Crater Lake for 1939. With the masonry guardrail completed, he remarked that the parking areas should be given a lighter color finish than that of the road.

Segment 7-E (Sun Notch to Park Headquarters)

The initial P-line run by BPR assigned segment 7-E to a route linking Sun Notch with Rim Village, but the subsequent adoption of a "combination line" led to dividing the segment into two pieces for contracting purposes. A sort of "middle line" connected Sun Notch with Vidae Falls and became 7-E1, while 7-E2 roughly corresponded to the old "low line" running from Vidae Falls to Park Headquarters. Some adjustment to the road mileage stipulated in the respective grading contracts was still necessary, however, due to the uncertainty that existed in 1936 over what the site development around Vidae Falls might entail. This resulted in shortening the contract for grading 7-E1 by four tenths of a mile so that it could be combined with 7-D2 and then advertised for bid.

Dunn and Baker completed all of the rough grading and most of the finish portion of the contract in 7-E1 during the 1937 season. Just over a mile in length, 7-E1 turned out to be relatively easy work. In running above the western margin of Sun Meadow and along the bottom of a slide on the flank of Applegate Peak, the new road provided Lange with an opportunity to show a particularly good example of bank sloping through a heavy rock slide. The only other landscape item that he or the superintendent noted in 7-E1 concerned the need to obliterate an old "motor trail" improved by the CCC in 1933, one that started toward Sun Notch where the old Rim Road crossed Sun Creek.

BPR awarded the contract for grading 7-E2 to E.L. Gates of Portland in October 1937. This meant that work on the final 3.3 miles of Rim Drive began the following spring, with the nagging question of whether to construct a bridge or use fill to span Vidae Creek finally resolved. Gates constructed the fill over the following summer, which included placement of a pipe culvert with stone headwall at both ends. Lange estimated the contractor to have completed 90 percent of the rough grading in 7-E2 that season. Photographs in his final report for 1938 showed ditch and slope treatment along one stretch of road, some old road obliteration through bank sloping, and placement of what he called a "culvert drain" with rough stone pavement less than a mile from Park Headquarters.

Aside from planting, most of the remaining items in the grading contract pertained to completing the road connection below Vidae Falls to the proposed Sun Creek Campground. A need to relieve pressure on the campground at Rim Village drove selection of new sites, such as Sun Creek, away from where the lake could be seen. As one of several satellite areas, NPS officials hoped that a new campground below Vidae Falls might provide an attractive alternative to the problems associated with overuse in Rim Village. Superintendent Leavitt liked the Sun Creek site, but did not want it opened for use by visitors until properly developed so as to avoid damage to the trees and ground cover. The first step toward building the campground came in the form of a serpentine road going down a quarter mile from Vidae Falls to an area that once served as an informal picnic site on the old Rim Road. A bank slope constructed at its intersection with the Rim Drive served the dual purpose of reducing the campground road's presence to motorists traveling the main route, yet also afforded sufficient visibility from one road to the other.

Plans for a stopping point beneath the waterfall called for widening the road fill on the upstream (or northern) side of Rim Drive, so as to allow for parallel parking. Installation of a stone drinking fountain at this parking area came in July 1939, but construction of additional landscape features had to wait until the subsequent surfacing contract was let. These included building a raised walk 4' wide in front of Vidae Falls, which was separated from the roadway by a stone curb. Just as they had in 7-D, Lange and other NPS landscape architects anticipated distinguishing the Vidae Falls parking area from Rim Drive through the use of pavement having a rougher texture and somewhat lighter color finish.

Rim Drive
Culvert headwall and masonry guardrail (in background) along East Rim Drive.

Introduction of the fill spanning Vidae Creek constituted what Lange termed as the "major landscape problem" in 7-E2. He reported that it required more than 1,000 yards of topsoil in preparation for planting the entire slope as part of making the fill conform to surrounding terrain. This effort required more than 5,000 plants, shrubs, and trees. Al Lathrop, formerly one of Lange's assistants for CCC work, had charge of a crew numbering ten men and paid by the contractor. They needed sixteen days to plant a mix of species that included willows, mountain hemlock, huckleberry, purple-flower honeysuckle (twinberry), and spirea. A sprinkling system was needed so that the plantings on the fill could initially be watered every day, then two or three times per week until early autumn. Lange described the source of water as a "reservoir" built at the "head" of Vidae Falls, located about 100' above the fill and out of sight from Rim Drive. From there a 3" line was placed to one side of the falls and connected to smaller lines spaced about 30' on centers across the planted slopes of the fill. He estimated it might take two or three seasons for the planting beds to provide the desired effect.

Leavitt expressed some satisfaction in writing to Cammerer that all grading contracts let in conjunction with building Rim Drive were finally complete as of September 1939. Lange mentioned this milestone in his season-ending report for the year and optimistically projected the surfacing phase to be finished in 1940, with the paving to follow in 1941. The surfacing of 7-E did indeed come about over the following season, but the funding request for paving this road segment languished throughout World War II and for more than a decade afterward. The NPS simply had to make do using oil and asphalt treatments aimed at protecting the subgrade and surfacing material of this road segment.

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