RECREATION AND TOURISM IN THE MOUNTAINS
One man's hardship was another man's passion. The very qualities which prevented widespread settlement and commercial development of the North Cascades its inaccessibility, ruggedness, and extremes of climate enticed people with a desire to recreate in the wilderness. Over the years hundreds of thousands of outdoor enthusiasts have been lured to these mountains for physical and mental challenge, rest and relaxation, and a scenic grandeur not found in their daily experience.
As might be expected, recreational interest in large wilderness areas came somewhat late to the northwest. The early efforts of Euro-Americans focused on exploring the new territory, conquering the wilderness through settlement, and searching for marketable resources. Only after the area became familiar to the general population and firmly-rooted settlements had been established did people begin to consider the recreational advantages of their environs.
Increasing amounts of leisure time redirected thoughts from exploitation to conservation of the area's unspoiled natural resources. Cries for preserving the nation's natural heritage were gathering momentum from coast to coast. A measure of protection for many pristine forests was provided in 1897 when the federal government created forest reserves. In the northwest the sizeable Washington Forest Reserve included thousands of acres of land on both slopes of the North Cascades. In turn, government efforts were supported by private endeavors. By this time, dozens of adventurous climbers had successfully ascended the summits of both Mount Hood and Mount Rainier, precipitating the formation of regional mountaineering clubs, and enhancing public awareness of the region's natural environment and scenic resources. To the north Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan were rediscovered for their recreational value and the area was promoted as a forest and alpine vacation land of marvelous beauty. Before the turn of the century the northwest's first national park was established at Mount Rainier, . . . to be held forever inviolate from the commercialism of mankind . . .," and people were actively encouraged to visit their new natural sanctuary. 
Although people had sporadically made their way into the mountains for many years, it was the automobile and its mass production in the 1920s that allowed more people, now called tourists, to travel freely into the backwoods of the region. A 1922 promotional brochure on the automobile roads of the state of Washington lured many with promises of adventure in the remote reaches of the mountains: "The automobile tourist is discovering the state of Washington. Roads are reaching into the mountains farther and farther each year; the auto camper follows them as far as his engine will turn."  Once the realm of the hardy fewhomesteaders, loggers, miners, and wealthy individuals in search of adventure out of the way places throughout the northwest were systematically made accessible through the construction of roads. The USFS, in conjunction with state and county governments, was responsible for building many of these roads. With auto tourism came new demands on the wilderness. Lodges, rustic cabins, and campgrounds were built by both the public and private sector in response to the needs of these travelers. Recreation had become a viable business, and places such as Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker were geared up for masses of mobile, sightseeing Americans.
The North Cascades, specifically the area of today's park, was spared such early impacts. For many years, no roads penetrated the wilderness. It was simply impossible to reach the wild core of the North Cascades without tremendous physical effort and that fact alone left most of this region untrammeled by tourists for decades. Only those who were hardy, adventurous, and willing to forego conveniences made the attempt. On the west side of the divide, tourists approached the mountains by canoe up the Skagit River as far as Goodell's Landing. From there a trail led foot travelers and those on horseback deep into the high country. A wagon road reached Marblemount by the 1890s and was extended five miles to Bacon Creek in the 1910s. The Great Northern Railroad laid its tracks as far as Rockport in the early twentieth century. From Rockport a stage carried travelers to Marblemount. In the 1920s Seattle City Light (SCL) constructed a private rail line from Rockport to Newhalem (and later to Diablo), occasionally carrying Skagit valley residents and USFS personnel as well as their own staff and visitors. By this time, an unimproved road was in place along the Skagit River as far as Thunder Creek but even then few tourists made their way in. Eventually the road was extended beyond Thunder Creek and connected with a road constructed from the east side of the Cascades. This monumental effort to bisect the mountains was not completed until 1972.
Early tourists approaching the North Cascades by way of the eastern slope found the route equally strenuous. Of course, Stehekin and the Chelan country could be reached from Marblemount by foot or horse via Cascade Pass in four days, but most opted for the more "civilized" route. Taking a train to Wenatchee, the traveler then went by steamer up the Columbia River to Chelan Falls where a stage met the boat and "whisked" passengers several miles up a series of dirt switch-backs to the town of Chelan. For the final leg of the trip travelers boarded a steamer which transported them up Lake Chelan on a 55-mile journey to Stehekin. Truly catering to the tourist, some boats were outfitted with armchairs, rocking chairs, and even a grand piano to help while away the hours of the day-long excursion.  Once in Stehekin, tourists could reach the high mountains by foot or on horseback, following trails built by miners. In 1891 a wagon road was constructed from the head of the lake to the mines as far as High Bridge. The road was extended as far as Bridge Creek ca. 1926.  Bridge Creek remained the end of the road until the 1940s when the push for a mine- to-market road was renewed in the valley and the existing road was extended to Cottonwood Campground. Despite technological advances and the passage of time, access to the North Cascades and to the Stehekin valley from the east side has not changed much since that time. One can now drive to the lake and partly up its south shore, but Stehekin remains unapproachable by car. Since World War II, float planes have provided a quick means of getting to the head of the lake, yet most tourists choose to travel by boat or by foot along the Lakeshore or Summit trails.
The lack of roads and easy access into the North Cascadian wilderness restricted the numbers of tourists for many years. Those who visited early on came to a place barely on the map, but a place continually lauded and promoted by local residents who wished to encourage tourism, particularly in Chelan County. With effusive language, the region was heralded as a wilderness, a vast land of glaciers, jagged peaks, deep forested valleys, and abundant fish and game. Impressive scenery coupled with the land's inaccessible mystique was a panacea for outdoor lovers:
The federal government also made some effort to encourage recreation in the North Cascades. As early as 1916 the Washington National Forest pursued a detailed reconnaissance for the purposes of obtaining knowledge regarding the recreational resources of the forest.  Public campgrounds provided by the USFS became more common, particularly along Lake Chelan where the camper ". . . had his choice of any of a hundred . . . places and may pitch his tent along the shore of the lake or among the mountain meadows wherever his fancy may lead him."  In the later 1910s USFS Ranger Tommy Thompson reported parties of campers and tourists at Bacon Creek and Gorge Creek.  Simple lean-tos were built for the comfort of these travelers by USFS rangers. Most of the structures were replaced in the 1930s with substantial 3-sided log shelters.
The care of backcountry visitors became increasingly important to the USFS as greater numbers entered the area. In 1929 the. Stehekin District Ranger reported approximately 200 summer campers at Bridge Creek alone; the same year the Skagit District Ranger reported 400 campers, 200 picnickers, 150 hikers, and 75 motorists for the entire district. In comparison, the Glacier Ranger District, encompassing the Mt. Baker area, reported 4924 campers, 22,800 picnickers, 250 hikers, and 5000 motorists. To prepare for the anticipated increase in visitors, the USFS developed more detailed plans for recreational use of the forests between the years 1923 and 1933. 
The west side of the mountains was not promoted by the private sector as extensively as the Lake Chelan area. Access here was far more difficult because of the rugged terrain. Although fish, game, and scenery were equally plentiful, it was chiefly miners and USFS personnel who took advantage of these resources. Tourists were welcome to stay at the Bacon Creek and Cedar Bar roadhouses or the Ruby Inn before heading into the backcountry, but most registered guests were miners rather than outdoor enthusiasts. Tourism was encouraged in a serious way for the first time by Seattle City Light (SCL).
Beginning in the mid-1920s, the SCL Skagit Tours became a phenomenal success. Thousands of visitors from Seattle and elsewhere were entertained on an inexpensive two-day tour which included breathtaking views of the mountains, train rides, home-cooked meals, exotic animals, tropical garden walks, boat rides, movies, and tours of SCL's hydroelectric plants and programs, all set in the wilderness of the North Cascades.  The year 1937 brought 21,000 tourists into the remote upper valley.  In general, however, this was a very limited and controlled form of recreation. For the most part, only a handful of mountain climbers, fishermen, and hunters made any effort to recreate on their own in the upper Skagit valley until general access to the region improved.
In contrast to the western slope of the divide, recreational use of the east slope began as early as the 1890s. Most tourists and travelers engaged in some kind of recreational activity in the Chelan and Stehekin areas. A September 22, 1892 entry in the local newspaper demonstrates the diversity of people who visited the area then:
Supplies were always at hand after the establishment of a "good store" in Stehekin by fall of 1891. A Mr. Cole opened the business which quickly became ". . . quite a convenience to the large number of lumbermen, miners, prospectors and tourists who visit [the] district . . ."  The sublime Rainbow Falls, and the panorama of Horseshoe Basin were popular destinations for hikes, captivating the eyes of miners and scenery buffs alike. Fishing was a favored activity and the Stehekin River was a fisherman's paradise for decades. A state fish hatchery constructed in Stehekin in the early twentieth century supplemented native fish populations. Trout from the hatchery were planted seasonally in numerous Stehekin valley creeks and lakes for the pleasure of the tourist. Many enjoyed boating on the lake, both rowing and sailing. Hunting was undertaken for sport and wildfowl, and bears, goats, deer, and an occasional cougar were primary game. If a tourist desired, the animals or pelts were prepared for wall mounting or as rugs or clothing by Stehekin taxidermists Lewis and Jim Weaver.
During these early years the region began to attract the attention of mountain explorers and climbers. Drawn by the multitude of unnamed and unclimbed peaks, individuals as well as large mountaineering clubs made concerted efforts to tackle the North Cascades for a first ascent. In 1899 the Portland Mazamas, the oldest such club in the northwest, visited Lake Chelan and the Stehekin valley. Their presence was billed by the local newspaper as being ". . . of inestimable importance in broadcasting information concerning this great, but scarcely-known wonderland of the Pacific Northwest."  An account of their trip is full of superlatives describing the valley, Horseshoe Basin, and their ascent and naming of Mount Sahale.  Other first ascents of mountains in today's park occurred much later, primarily in the 1920s and 1930s. 
Horseback riding was another favorite activity, particularly as an expeditious means of reaching the high country. Veteran horsepacker Dan Devore and hotel proprietor Merritt Field kept horses for hire and provided unequaled guide service for hunters, tourists, and photographers. Undoubtedly the most celebrated horseback outing in the North Cascades took place in the fall of 1916, when author Mary Roberts Rinehart led her party over Cascade Pass. Sponsored by the Great Northern Railroad (GNRR), which had promoted tourism in and around Lake Chelan since the early twentieth century, Rinehart hired Dan Devore and his packtrain to haul the party's supplies from Stehekin over the pass to Rockport where the GNRR terminated. Rinehart's narrative is somewhat different from what others recalled; a full account of her impressions of the trip over Cascade Pass is contained in her book entitled Tenting Tonight.  One member of the outing noted decades later, "The mountains were wild, but Mrs. Rinehart exaggerated the horrors of the trail." 
Along with Devore, Rinehart was joined by her family, USFS personnel, and a woman who Rinehart worried would be "putting up her hair in curlers every night." Lawrence D. Lindsley served as photographer for the outing. Known as "Silent Lawrie" by some, Lindsley was described by Rinehart as a
The black and white photographs from this expedition supplemented hundreds Lindsley shot of the upper Stehekin valley. Diverse in his work, he recorded miners and their cabins as well as elegant landscapes and was historically the most prolific of all photographers in the Stehekin valley.
Lodging was readily available for tourists along the shores of Lake Chelan. Although camping was always an option, early travelers often chose the comfortable inns and hotels conveniently sited on the water between Chelan and Stehekin. Without question the most prominent of all lake hostelries was the Field Hotel. Situated at the head of the lake, the Field was a rather imposing cultural presence in an otherwise natural environment. Touted as "one of the most popular resorts in the state" by some, the Field had humble beginnings.  It was originally built, owned, and operated by George Hall, an early Stehekin settler and entrepreneur. First christened the Argonaut, it was a simple 2-story lumber structure with a wide wrap-around porch. After a few years Hall left Stehekin permanently, selling his business in 1892 to a recent transplant from Colorado, Merritt E. Field. It was Field who transformed the Argonaut from a backwoods hostel to an elegant hotel, bringing the structure and Stehekin itself a fame and recognition felt long after the hotel was gone.
Field capitalized on the overnight lodging needs of miners and tourists traveling to the head of the lake. At that time boats required a full day's travel to reach Stehekin, and as a result, visitors had to spend the night before they were able to return downlake. Furthermore, when the steamers docked at the head of the lake, passengers disembarking from the boat found themselves on a wooden boardwalk leading directly to Field's hotel. Apparently first impressions were misleading:
To accommodate the traveling public Field enlarged the Argonaut to 25 rooms by building a 2-1/2-story unattached structure nearby. A succession of additions through the years resulted in a T-shaped hotel of 2-1/2-stories, marked by a 5-1/2-story tower, and a new name the Field Hotel. Despite these alterations that increased the size of the original building threefold, the Field Hotel remained an unassuming edifice architecturally. A series of cross gables punctuated the roof of the otherwise simple building. Verandas on the two main floors enwrapped the building creating light and airy passageways between sections of the hotel and rooms, all of which had electric lights and most of which had plumbing. By 1905:
An annex was built in a similar style and sited adjacent to the main hotel, providing additional rooms for tourists. The hotel facility was self- sufficient in every manner. A barn, woodshed, chicken house, ice house, and laundry building were all sited on the property. Land was cleared to grow hay for Field's packhorses, and fruit trees and vegetables were raised to supply hotel guests with the freshest produce available. 
Merritt Field operated his highly-esteemed hotel until 1906 when he sold all interests to Alice B. Wick for $10,000.  Wick may have been an agent for the Great Northern Railroad (GNRR), an entity which ultimately gained control and operated the hotel until its removal in the late 1920s. The GNRR continued to advertise the "Hotel Field" as "a resort with quality in the heart of the mountains."  In 1919, eighteen dollars could buy a week of hunting, fishing, bathing, boating, and dancing at the hotel.  Every Saturday night a grand dance was held, supplemented by weekday evening dances. Autos were available for hire to take tourists to Rainbow Falls and other nearby points of interest. Indeed, there was "something doing all the time at Hotel Field." 
The Field was not the only hotel in Stehekin. Early settler and miner Whitby F. Purple established the Mountain View House overlooking Lake Chelan. Arriving in Stehekin in 1897, Purple opened his homestead residence as a hostelry within two years' time. In 1899 he was planning to add a second story "and otherwise improve it, to meet the demands of a rapidly growing business."  By 1900 he had built a dock on the lakeshore with steps leading up to the house, and a log barn was sited alongside the road leading upvalley. An historic photograph reveals that Purple built a 2-1/2-story gable-roofed structure perched high above the lake. A rubblestone foundation and wrap-around veranda with a screened sleeping porch above created a rustic appearance clearly sited to take advantage of the view. The surrounding landscape was more formal, embellished with ornamental plantings, rock-lined paths and terraces, and decorative rock piles. Tent platforms were carefully located beneath trees for those guests who wished to sleep outdoors. 
The last of the early valley resorts, the Rainbow Lodge opened in 1910 offering the public yet another overnight alternative in Stehekin. Lydia George, the proprietress, had grown tired of working for others as a telephone operator and cook at the Horseshoe Basin and Bridge Creek mines. Determined to go into business for herself, and speculating on the need for seasonal lodging in the valley, Miss George hired her former employer Henry Buckner to build a six-room frame house for her. Indicative of Stehekin valley architecture, the structure was simple in appearance, its most noticeable feature being a long sloping gable roofline. Located about 2-1/2 miles from the head of the lake, the hostelry was sited off the valley road and surrounded by tall trees. A large clearing provided pastureland for packhorses and cows, and enabled Lydia to grow a sizable vegetable garden. Guests (mostly miners in the early years) were assured good meals, clean beds, and general comfort during their stay at the Rainbow Lodge.
The 1910s brought Lydia George steady business. With the added help of her sister Althea Rice and a man named Jamie Jameson, the Rainbow Lodge was able to expand. By the 1920s several small cabins were built nearby to accommodate those guests who wished to cook their own meals. Flowers and rock walls, steps and terraces were thoughtfully added to enhance and ornament the lodge's mountain setting. As valley mining died, the lodge became less of a boarding house for miners and more of a lodge for tourists and fishermen. Though tourists were practically non-existent during the Depression, Rainbow Lodge was able to remain open through the difficult years. During the 1940s tourists coming uplake were met at the boat dock by Jameson, who wooed them to Rainbow Falls in the lodge's old Ford truck or Model T.  Afterwards, he would return with the group to the lodge, where Lydia and Althea had prepared a substantial roast beef lunch with all the trimmings. Satiated after their final serving of homemade pie or cobbler, some guests sat and rocked in chairs while others peered out at McGregor Mountain lookout, clearly visible through the telescope stationed on the lodge's porch. 
The Mountain View House functioned as a lodge in Stehekin until Purple left the area in 1918, selling his property to the company involved in developing hydroelectricity on Lake Chelan. The Rainbow Lodge continued to serve meals to day visitors and rent rooms and cabins until the advent of World War II. Closed during wartime, it was never to re-open after Lydia George's death in 1946. The Field, however, continued to serve tourists until the raising of Lake Chelan appeared inevitable. The Field Annex was then moved upvalley by Jack Blankenship, who was operating the annex as an inn of sorts. But Blankenship misjudged the new location in relation to the rising of Lake Chelan and the annex had to be removed entirely ca. 1927. The main portion of the Field Hotel structure was dismantled and materials such as windows, doors, stairways, and moldings were salvaged and reused in the construction of another hotel which stands today, the Golden West Lodge.
Built in 1926 on the site of the Purple homestead, the Golden West Lodge continued the Field's tradition of serving guests and tourists at the head of the lake. Although not a master craftsman, Blankenship built an inn which was fairly typical of the day's tourist accommodation: a spacious resort hotel located in a scenic area which blended rustic simplicity with some elements of elegance and comfort. Modest in appearance, the Golden West has not changed substantially since first constructed. Two and a half stories in height, its roofline was broken by gable-roofed dormers, and its symmetrical primary facade accented by a central two-story entrance portico. Inside, the atmosphere was comfortable, with a grouping of davenports and chairs around a large native stone fireplace all set in an open lobby. Gas and kerosene lamps placed on tables throughout created an ambiance ideal for storytelling or chatting. Animal heads and hides and scenic photographs served to decorate the walls. A dining room overlooking the lake and capable of seating 48 was separated from the main lobby by a pair of french doors. All summer long quests enjoyed family style meals complete with homemade cakes, pies, and biscuits baked daily by the lodge cook. A central stairway in the lobby led to a second floor and balcony supported by massive peeled and varnished log posts. Here, guests could quietly observe the activity in the lobby below. 
By this time, the 1920s, the lake boat was making daily trips to and from Chelan. As a consequence, day visitors to Stehekin increased. They needed no overnight accommodations and thus changed the nature of tourism at the head of the lake. Furthermore, fewer visitors came uplake, most preferring to remain downlake with their cars on roads which led them to new and perhaps more exciting places. While other parts of the state blossomed with the advent of the auto age, the automobile was in many respects the near demise of Stehekin as a tourist haven. Horsepacker Dan Devore recalled in the 1930s:
World War II brought an end to pleasure travel and recreational activity in the valley. Both lodges operating in Stehekin at the time, the Golden West and the Rainbow, closed their doors during those quiet years.
After wartime travel restrictions and gas rationing were lifted, only the Golden West re-opened for business, but with little fanfare. It had new owners with new ideas. Gone were the miners who stayed in the lodge in its early years; modern tourists made new demands and valley competition for their business was severe. In response, the new proprietor built five small log cabins to supplement the rooms in the main lodge. Fully furnished and fitted with plumbing and electricity, the rustic cabins allowed guests to come and go as they pleased and added a new dimension to the resort on the lake. A teardrop-shaped swimming pool approximately 15' x 15' in size, with a flagstone terrace, was filled with water diverted from Purple Creek. Rock walls and terracing, flower beds and fruit trees further enhanced the picturesque quality of the Golden West. Guests at the lodge could partake in a variety of recreational pursuits such as shuffleboard, badminton, dancing, cards, pool or snooker, archery, and horseshoes. Of course hunting, hiking, mountaineering, fishing, and horseback riding were also available. Best of all, as the Golden West Lodge advertised in one of its brochures, "We have no mosquitoes at the lodge." 
The lodge went through a series of owners and proprietors over the years of its operation. The short tourist season and the distance from supply centers were partially responsible. Jack Blankenship lost his rights to the property in 1940, and George Miller became the new owner. Miller's son Peter was responsible for building the small log cabins.
After Miller, the lodge was sold to Glen and Chet Ashmead who added a sixth log cabin to the site east of the main lodge (Cabin 11 today). In turn, Ashmead sold to William and Florence McLean who ran the lodge and cabins for a number of years. Two other owners came and went prior to a Seattle corporation, Outdoor Recreation, Inc., purchasing the property in 1967. For two years the Golden West was operated as the "Stehekin Lodge" and the small cabins were used as housing for lodge employees. With the establishment of the national park in the area in 1968, this company sold its holdings to the federal government.  Today, the Golden West stands as the oldest major resort in the present-day national park complex. Though no longer used in its original capacity, it remains a nostalgic part of the Stehekin valley landscape.
Upvalley, two new "resorts" opened in the 1940s in anticipation of a renewed tourist trade. Daisie Weaver ran a "resort" for a number of years at Weaver Point, across the lake from the landing. On property she and her husband Lewis had homesteaded earlier, Daisie had a number of small cabins built by the early 1940s. Because Weaver Point was inaccessible by automobile, Daisie would ferry her guests to and from the Stehekin boat landing in her small aluminum boat. In 1941 she had the honor of hosting a party of Mazamas who hiked down to "Mrs. Weaver's camp" for "shower baths" and homemade pie, before heading downlake. 
In addition to Daisie's camp, another "resort" opened about the year Rainbow Lodge closed. Located along the Stehekin River and near the head of the lake, "Camp Stehekin was a fishing camp built by Bob Duncan and Randall Morse. Morse's parents Lester and Mabel had originally bought 20 acres from Althea Rice in the mid-1940s for the purpose of building a summer home. Instead, they offered the property to their son and son-in-law for a fishing camp site. With fishing being practically unsurpassed in Stehekin at this time, Morse and Duncan believed they had a marvelous business opportunity. Using their GI loan money they built ten cabins and a small grocery store and purchased ten boats about 1946- 47. Several years later, ca. 1952, Randall bought out his brother-in-law and operated the camp with the help of his wife Frances. They changed the name to Morse's Resort, added a pavilion, improved the lawns, and tried to make a living.  Unfortunately for the Morses and others in the valley, the 1948 Stehekin River flood eradicated fish spawning grounds and changed the course of the river. "Unbelievable" fishing in the upper valley was now a thing of the past, and this drastically affected the tourist trade. 
The 1940s and post-war years brought no great resurgence of tourists into the valley, despite advertising efforts by Stehekin resort owners. What did become apparent was a rise in the building of vacation or retirement homes. The USFS encouraged the building of such places and carefully surveyed areas along the lakeshore for homesites of this nature. In a brochure entitled "Lake Chelan: Health and Recreation, Chelan National Forest," the USFS promoted summer home sites in an enticing manner:
Possibly the earliest of the so-called recreational homes built at the head of the lake belonged to F.W. Vollmer. On land he purchased from M.E. Field, Vollmer constructed a "handsome bungalow on his property . . . to be used as a summer residence" in 1907.  This site was eventually inundated in the late 1920s with the raising of Lake Chelan, but the trend of summer home building was established. Art Peterson had a log cabin built by hotel owner Jack Blankenship on 15 acres he had purchased at Bridge Creek. Peterson had mining claims on upper Bridge Creek and use this cabin in conjunction with that activity and for recreational use. In the mid-to-late-1930s Jack Blankenship built a small log cabin for rental purposes on a picturesque site along Purple Creek. The first renter was a fisherman named Everett McKellar, hence the name "McKellar Cabin," a designation still used today. Later, Blankenship sold the property to Cap and Inez Nast of San Francisco, who hired Blankenship to build them a sizable log cabin next door in 1940 (the "George Miller House," now serving as NPS housing). Retired plumber John C. "Skinny" Wilson arrived in Stehekin in the late 1940s and built a home for himself and his wife.  Literally dozens of vacation and retirement homes were built over the years as property owners sub-divided their land, selling off smaller parcels. In the valley, "Keller's Stehekin Homes," "Keller's Park," the cluster of houses at Purple Point, and the land-filled "Silver Bay" area represent the more recent examples of sub-division. Further evidence of sub-division is manifested in the vacation and permanent homesites which dot the lakeshore, flanking the Company Creek and main valley roads, and tucked away deep in the pine forests.
The raising of the lake in the late 1920s forced the relocation of the boat dock at the head of the lake from the northern shore to the eastern shore of the lake. Visual focus was no longer on a grand hotel at the head of the lake, but on a small residence known as the White House, and the Stehekin post office, both located at the new landing. Except for the latter, one would not know one had finally reached the small settlement called Stehekin. After the war, when activity picked up somewhat at the Golden West Lodge, and Morse's and Daisie Weaver's camps were open for business, Stehekin resident Beryl Courtney began a business catering strictly to a lunch-time boat crowd. There at the landing "Beryl's Cafe" served hamburgers and homemade pie to customers seated on stools at a small, horseshoe-shaped counter. Fellow resident Paul Bergman owned a photography shop at the landing. These few operations together, perhaps, with a side trip to Rainbow Falls, shaped the post-war tourist's perceptions of Stehekin. Since then, the landing has continued to evolve. Courtney sold off parcels of her land to others who erected summer homes on the lakefront. The White House was demolished, making way for the (former) "Boatel," and numerous additions to Beryl's Cafe were undertaken. Peter Miller completed the (former) Swissmont Lodge in 1950. Tourism began a slow increase in the late 1950s and early 1960s. 
Lodging on the west side of the mountains was readily available for a number of years in the upper Skagit valley. It was, however, not as developed or luxurious as Stehekin lodging. Roadhouses, private homes with rooms for rent, provided the sole accommodations for tourists. The first roadhouse built along the Skagit River was at Goodell's Landing. It was operated by August Dohne between 1897 and 1918. Another hostelry, at the confluence of Ruby Creek and the south bank of the Skagit River, was the Ruby Creek Inn. John McMillan and his wife ran this roadhouse from the late 1910s until the early 1920s. In 1925 this "inn" was operated by H.B. Brown, followed by his wife Louise, until the USFS canceled their special use permit in 1930.  The Davis family used their homestead at Cedar Bar as a roadhouse beginning in the 1890s, serving miners and other travelers until the 1920s. Their roadhouse became a well-known reststop in the wilderness. There was also a roadhouse at Bacon Creek which operated for an unknown period of time.
Recreational activities have not changed significantly in the North Cascades since the turn of the century, when people first came to the mountains seeking scenery and pure pleasure. From Stehekin the lake boat makes daily runs on Lake Chelan all summer long, stopping here and there to drop off or pick up hikers. Stehekin Landing continues to serve tourists and now has a lodge, restaurant, store, and boat moorage for the dozens of pleasure boats which arrive throughout the season. Most day visitors still take a quick bus ride to marvel at Rainbow Falls, or eat lunch at the landing and visit the former Golden West Lodge (now an NPS Visitor Center) and cabins, three of which have recently become retail shops. Tourists remaining in Stehekin overnight can room at the newer North Cascades Lodge or in a number of privately-owned rental cabins available in the valley. Mountain climbers hikers, campers, fishermen, and photographers can all be seen riding the NPS shuttle bus which transports visitors upvalley to trailheads and campgrounds. On the west side of the mountain divide, the damming of the Skagit River created a new paradise for boaters and fishermen alike. The enormous man-made reservoirs of Diablo and Ross Lakes, the latter of which reaches to the Canadian border, are perfect for trout fishing, canoeing, and motor boating. The completion of the North Cascades Highway in 1972 opened up this northern country in a remarkable way. Access to trails heading deep into the backcountry has been facilitated by this road and by numerous former logging roads still extant within or skirting today's park. Hikers enjoy walks to mountain top lookouts, glacial lakes, and other well-known destinations. Mountain climbers head into the brush to ascend ridges in the vast sea of peaks which comprise this mountain range. Others merely enjoy a drive through the park, cruising past glimpses of the wilderness beyond the highway.
Thoughts of recreating in the wilds of the North Cascades came shortly after the prospectors began mining the resources and settlers had homesteaded the land. The very qualities which deterred some individuals from coming to the area (hard life, remoteness, etc.) attracted others who wanted to explore the backwoods for challenge and pure enjoyment. The North Cascades, however, were not exploited on a grand scale like other wilderness/recreation areas. The transportation and communication difficulties prevented elaborate developments. Consequently, recreationists and visitors to this region of the Pacific Northwest had fewer conveniences available to them, and their experiences in the backcountry were more rugged.
In the early years of tourism, the Field Hotel at the head of Lake Chelan was a major force in the development of a tourist trade. It supplied visitors mainly recreationists and miners with nearly everything they needed. Dismantled in the late 1920s, the large resort was replaced by a simpler but notable lodge which remains today. One other vestige of early resort development in the Stehekin valley is extant today the Rainbow Lodge (Rice residence). Similar hostelries on the west side of the divide along the Skagit River were commonly known as roadhouses, and none of the four which operated Bacon Creek Lodge, the Davis Roadhouse, Goodell's Landing, and the Ruby Innstand today.
As increased numbers of visitors headed into the backcountry, the USFS directed thoughts to the recreation potential of the lands under its jurisdiction. As a means of protecting both forest resources and visitors, the USFS began a program of building log shelters. These 3-sided structures were thoughtfully designed and sensitive to their backwoods setting. Over the years, changes in administration and management policies have resulted in the removal of nearly all of these shelters.
Campers, hikers, and mountain climbers in the Stehekin valley were joined by individuals seeking summer and/or retirement homes in the 1940s. A Stehekin resident (well-known for building the Golden West Lodge) was responsible for constructing several log cabins and homes at the head of Lake Chelan. Sub-division of the early Stehekin homesteads has since brought increased numbers of residents and prefabricated homes to the valley, many of which do not share the rustic appearance and sensitivity to the environment characteristic of their predecessors.
It is recommended that the history of recreation and resort development within the North Cascades be interpreted as a historic theme significant to the overall human history of the national park.
The following resources are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places within the historic theme identified in this chapter:
GEORGE MILLER HOUSE, a handsome log residence built in 1940 by valley resident Jack Blankenship, is a fine example of recreation home building in the Stehekin valley. The structure utilizes native materials to create a building rustic in appearance and sensitive to its surroundings.
GOLDEN WEST LODGE COMPLEX, including the lodge, garage, cabins 10, 11,12, the Craft Shop, Outdoor Store, and Photo Shop, is eligible for the National Register for its associations with the razed Field Hotel, valley resident and log cabin builder Jack Blankenship, and its status as the only extant example of large-scale wilderness resort development in the North Cascades. The complex retains its cluster of associated outbuildings and many landscape features including a fairly sophisticated series of rock-walled terraces leading from the lodge to the lake.
RICE RESIDENCE, also known as Rainbow Lodge, has been determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
BEAVER PASS, PERRY CREEK, BRIDGE CREEK, HIGH BRIDGE, AND FLICK CREEK SHELTERS, built in the 1930s, are the only extant shelters remaining in a wilderness region which formerly hosted more than a dozen such structures built for recreational use.
Because it does not meet the criteria, it is recommended that the Stehekin Landing Cafe not be nominated to the National Register of Historic Places.
It is recommended that the Peterson Cabin and the McKellar Cabin, both built in the 1940s by Stehekin resident, hotel owner, and log cabin builder Jack Blankenship, be placed on the area's List of Classified Structures, because of their association with a person significant to Stehekin 's development and as good examples of different types of log construction in the park.
It is recommended that the Little Beaver Shelter be placed on the List of Classified Structures for its association with recreation in the park.
Last Updated: 07-Feb-1999