A land cut off by water from the developing urban centers east of Puget Sound and deluged by rain that encouraged the perpetual growth of dense coniferous forests, the Olympic Peninsula remained, except for its outer fringe, almost untouched and undeveloped by Anglo-American settlers until the late 1880s and early 1890s. Although only five miles separated Lake Crescent in the north central section of the peninsula from the seagoing traffic at the small town of Port Crescent on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the lack of substantial roads to the lake, the virgin forest of immense trees, poor soil, and rugged topography surrounding the lake discouraged any serious attempts at farming. The task of clearing away tremendous trees and the handicap of distant markets, tried the skill and stamina of even the most persevering early settlers. In the last decade of the nineteenth century early homesteaders around Lake Crescent found the experiment of farming nearly impossible.
It was the fish in its waters and the Alpine-like scenery encircling Lake Crescent that provided an alternative to subsistence farming. The 1895 visit of Admiral Leslie Beardslee, who immortalized a variety of large blue-back trout, later known as the Beardslee trout, marked the beginning of Lake Crescent's reputation as a haven for sport fishermen. America's growing, fanciful idealization of the healthful, restorative qualities of wilderness settings also prompted Lake Crescent's development as an outdoor recreation area.
Visitors traveling from Seattle and Portland as well as midwestern and eastern seaboard cities, before the turn-of-the-century found only the mere beginnings of resort development around the lake. In the early 1890s there were tents, cabins, and meals at Piedmont on the north side of the lake near the terminus of the Port Crescent Road. By 1895 a rustic, two-story log structure known as Log Cabin Hotel (or the Hotel Piedmont) replaced the first crude accommodations at Piedmont. On the lake's eastern shoreline at the terminus of the early road from Port Angeles, another small log cabin resort was established in the 1890s (Evans 1983, 248). It was this East Beach resort establishment that hosted Admiral Beardslee in 1895.
The earliest travelers to Lake Crescent effectively spread the word about the lake's abundant Beardslee trout and untrampled, breathtaking scenery. Soon after 1900, articles appearing in popular regional and national sports and travel magazines described the multifarious wonders of the lake in hyperbolic prose. In 1902 the Coast magazine described the lake in glowing terms:
H. F. Dodge, writing for the Overland Monthly in 1903, expressed similar sentiments after traveling to Log Cabin Hotel on Lake Crescent from the East Coast:
Articles such as these greatly stimulated resort development on Lake Crescent. While the hostelry at Piedmont and at East Beach continued to welcome summer guests, several other resorts appeared around the lake's wooded perimeters. In 1905 Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Ovington established a resort on the north shore of the lake. At Ovington's, the main lodge building, a few small frame cottages, and an assemblage of temporary canvas tents greeted guests who came to fish, boat, swim, hike, or play tennis on the Ovington's private tennis court. Nineteen-six saw the opening of Marymere, the first resort establishment on the lake's shaded, south shore. Marymere drew immediate acclaim for its homey atmosphere and wholesome meals. One year later, Piedmont received its second hotel, the Hotel Crescent. The commodious "Crescent," advertised as the "prettiest and most comfortably located" hotel on Lake Crescent, offered its guests tennis, croquet, nightly beach campfires, and even a bath and piano. At the far west end of the lake, a modest resort at Fairholm had its early beginnings around 1910. Like the resorts at East Beach and Piedmont, the Hotel "Fairholm" was erected at a strategic point along a major cross-county transportation route. Here at Fairholm, boat traffic connected with a primitive road that led to the western reaches of the Olympic Peninsula (Evans 1983, 248-51).
The sunny exposure of the north shore of Lake Crescent attracted other entrepreneurial resort developers in the early 1910s. Not far from Ovingtons', Louis Dechman raised a sumptuously appointed retreat named Qui Si Sana ("Here Find Health") around 1913. Dr. Dechman, a Portland physician specializing in neuroses afflicting affluent city dwellers, established Qui Si Sana as a sanitarium. Here he applied his theory that liberal amounts of fresh air, physical work, and moderate exercise cured all neurological ailments found among sedentary urbanites. Although less widely known than Dechman's Qui Si Sana, Sunshine Lodge and Delbarre's Lodge occupied small sections of Lake Crescent's north shoreline in the early 1910s (Evans 1983, 250-52).
Of all these early Lake Crescent resort establishments built before 1914, not one remains in 1984. Fire was a constant threat and ultimately claimed Marymere (ca. 1914), Hotel Crescent (1919), and Log Cabin Hotel (1932). Others simply fell out of vogue as resort havens and were left to deteriorate, were demolished by new unappreciative owners, or were remodeled extensively, losing any semblance of their former appearance (Evans 1983, 248-52).
Unlike the lake's sunny north shore, the rugged, precipitous southern shoreline, cast in the cool shadow of bordering high ridges, did not attract the interest of early Lake Crescent resort builders. In addition, there were no roads nearby, as there were at Piedmont, East Beach, and Fairholm, to provide extra incentive for establishing a vacation retreat. Marymere, founded on Barnes Point around 1906, stood as an exception to the general dearth of resorts on the lake's south shore.
Unquestionably, resort development on Lake Crescent was intimately linked to the existence and condition of automobile access to the lake. The poor condition or total lack of road access to the lake severely impeded early tourist traffic. In 1907 a local Port Angeles newspaper noted the deplorable condition of the road between Port Crescent and Piedmont on the lake: "getting into Lake Crescent from Port Crescent are [sic] such as to make any man who tries it a fit candidate for the lunacy commission . . . (Olympic Leader 1907, 26 July). The following year Sam Hill, father of the good road building movement in the state of Washington, visited Port Angeles and Lake Crescent, and encouraged a project of building a better road between Port Angeles and the lake (Lauridsen and Smith 1937, 225). Perhaps his visit had some impact: by 1911 the county completed a new, modern automobile road to Lake Crescent from Port Angeles, which placed the lake within an hour of this growing coastal town (Dalton Collection 1911, 9).
Continuing in their endeavor to improve transportation across the north Olympic Peninsula, county government officials next moved to strengthen the transportation link between the east and west ends of Lake Crescent. (In the early 1910s little more than a widened winding path existed along a portion of the south shore of Lake Crescent.) In 1914 the county commissioners authorized the construction of a ferry (the Marjory) to transport travelers across Lake Crescent, as well as to various resort establishments around the lake's edge (Morse 1971, 72). One year later, the county launched a second ferry (the Storm King), ninety feet long and with a capacity for thirty vehicles (Olympic-Leader 1915, 5 February; 1915b, 7 May). So popular were these ferries, that between June and August 1915 traffic across Lake Crescent increased nearly seven-fold (Olympic-Leader 1915, 3 September).
With the Marjory and the Storm King in service, a continuous uninterrupted modern thoroughfare extended from Seattle to Mora on the western coast of the Olympic Peninsula. As never before, the newly completed Olympic Highway, or "Georgian Circuit" (Olympic-Leader 1915, 11 June), provided the new motoring tourist with easy and affordable access to the Olympic Peninsula's "panoramas of water and mountain scenery; countless glacial and mountain streams dashing and foaming on their way to the sea; beautiful lakes, nestling in the heavily forested foothills of the rugged Olympics . . ." (Olympic-Leader 1915, 25 June). Resort development on Lake Crescent received new impetus for growth.
It was against this backdrop of heightened highway and ferry construction, which marked the official opening of the north Olympic Peninsula to tourist traffic, that Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern* was founded and rapidly emerged as one of the most widely-known resorts on the Olympic Peninsula. Within months after Avery J. Singer and his wife, Julia, acquired 7.71 acres on the lake's south shore in 1914, construction of a two-story lodge building and adjoining sleeping cabins commenced.
Situated on scenic Lake Crescent, referred to by some as "one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in the world" (Reid 1912, 130), Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern immediately earned a reputation to match the splendor of its setting. It is, undoubtedly, to the credit of the resort's builders and owners, Al and Julia Singer, that Singer's Tavern rose quickly to a place of prominence throughout the region. Even before the main lodge was fully completed in 1915, local tavern visitors commented on the gracious and astute nature of its owners: "Mrs. Singer is a most affable and charming hostess and Mr. Singer is constantly on the alert to provide added comfort for his guests" (Olympic-Leader 1915, 7 May).
In addition to the attractive main lobby with its large stone fireplace and handsome hardwood floors, the modern conveniences of steam heat, running water and electricity, and the tasteful furnishings throughout, Mr. and Mrs. Singer saw to it that their guests were suitably entertained. Tennis, horseshoes, croquet, golf, and trapshooting were among the leisure activities offered visitors at Singer's (Olympic-Leader 1915, 7 May; Veith 1984; Flaherty 1983; Figure No. 8). Boats for fishing, or simply floating on the lake, were also provided to tavern guests. In addition, Mr. Singer leased a private launch which ran between the lodge and the road terminus at East Beach at the request of Singer guests (Olympic-Leader 1914, 18 December).
The excellence of the tavern dining room cuisine generated early accolades of praise. In 1916, the Singers' second season of operation, a Port Angeles newspaper reported that "Crescent Tavern, the most pretentious resort on the lake, was filled to overflowing and surely it would be hard to find a more ideal place. Mr. and Mrs. Singer are constantly on the alert to see that their guests are made as happy and comfortable as possible and the table service is equal to that of any of the large Seattle hotels" (Port Angeles Evening News, 1916, 7 August). Three years later, a Seattle weekly newspaper reiterated this same commendation: "On the edge of the lake is Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern, a truly remarkable hotel and a place to be fondly remembered by its guests for its good food, its air of solid comfort, its days of full enjoyment, its warmer welcome" (Town Crier 1919, 1). So great was the appeal and ambience of the resort that Singer's became the gathering place for many local civic and social groups, and entertained business meetings and outing clubs (Evans 1983, 265).
Under the astute and attentive proprietorship of the Singers, the lodge attracted an affluent and genteel clientele, which came from nearby Port Angeles and Victoria, B.C., as well as many eastern cities (Flaherty 1983; Lawrence 1982). Oftentimes guests arrived by ferry in chauffeur-driven cars, and stayed at the resort for a week or more. Dinners in the lodge dining room were formal affairs with busboys dressed in white jackets and black trousers. Jackets and ties were required of the male guests. Meals were lavishly prepared. In the mid-1920s evening dancing to tunes from a player piano took place on the sun porch of the main lodge (Lawrence 1982). In comparison to other Lake Crescent resorts, Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern of the 1910s and 1920s had a decidedly "more classy" atmosphere (Flaherty 1983).
Singer's wide spread reputation outlived the tenure of Al and Julia Singer, who sold their resort in 1927 (see Appendix A). Under the ownership of the Seattle Trust Company and the management of Frank Maltby in the 1930s, Singer's Tavern continued to receive high acclaim in promotional tourist literature. In 1935 the Northwest's Argus magazine exclaimed: "On the shores of Lake Crescent are several fine summer resorts, notably Lake Crescent Tavern and Ovington's, whose fame as mountain retreats has reached the ends of the earth" (Argus 1935, 38).
It was during the 1930s, when the creation of a large national park encompassing the central mountainous portion of the Olympic Peninsula was being hotly debated in Congress, that Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern received its most notable guest. To assess the area proposed for a national park firsthand, President Franklin D. Roosevelt came to the peninsula in the fall of 1937. This event marked the first time that a U.S. president visited Clallam County (Lauridsen and Smith 1937, 222). After Roosevelt was greeted in Port Angeles by an exuberant crowd and a festive parade, the presidential party proceeded to Lake Crescent Tavern where Roosevelt, his security guards, and several political leaders spent the evening of 30 September.
Following dinner in the lodge dining room, Roosevelt gathered around him select members of the presidential entourage, including Washington Senators Bone and Swellenbach, Congressmen Wallgren and Smith, Park Service Superintendent Tomlinson, and Forest Service Regional Forester C. J. Buck. (Lien 1953, 31) It was at this post-dinner conference that Roosevelt expressed his emphatic support of a large national park that included the greater portion of the Olympic Mountain Range, along with portions of the lower western valleys and a narrow strip along the Pacific Ocean. A Congressional bill reflecting many of Roosevelt's suggestions soon followed and ultimately provided the foundation leading to enabling legislation that created Olympic National Park in 1938. (Singer's "Cabin No. 34" presumably served as the president's 1937 guest accommodation, and is no longer standing since it stood near the site of the 1949 main lodge addition.) (See note.)
Under Walter and Bessie Bovee (see Appendix A), Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern took on the signature of its new owners. Known locally as "Bovee's on Lake Crescent" (Boyd 1984), the resort endured a reduction in tourist travel during the Depression and World War II, but surged back to life in the mid- to late-1940s. As the former manager of two urban hotels, the Ruby Hotel (now the Lee Hotel) in Port Angeles, and the Ambassador Hotel in Seattle (Boyd 1984), Walter Bovee applied his hotel management experience to his Lake Crescent lodge operation. Reflecting past traditions, Bovee offered a collage of civilized amenities in a rare setting of natural beauty. Guests had their choice of fishing from tavern-owned boats, tennis, horseback riding, billiards, evening dancing in an outdoor recreation building, and occasional skits and programs given by the lodge employees. Park Service naturalists gave programs in the enclosed sunporch (Veith 1984).
Fine food and friendly service in the dining room continued to provide guests with a memorable experience (Cramblet 1984; Veith 1984; Eastman 1951). One guest, who with her family vacationed at the lodge for thirty consecutive years beginning in 1947, recalls that during her earlier visits dining was still formal. Tables were laid with white table cloths and busboys dressed in formal attire. Guests continued to hail from all parts of the country (Cramblet 1984).
Private ownership of Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern ended in 1951 when the National Park Service purchased the property. National Park Concessions, Inc. has leased and managed the resort since then. Under the management of eight consecutive National Park Concessions Inc. managers (see Appendix A), the lodge catered to a different public, and became less of a destination resort than a stopping off place for visitors to Olympic National Park.
Since Roosevelt's visit in 1937, Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern has lodged or dined several notable guests. In the late 1930s Secretary Harold Ickes frequented the lodge dining room while vacationing at Storm King Guard Station (Morgenroth Cabin) (Flaherty 1983). In the late 1950s the Ambassador to the Netherlands was a lodge guest (Thompsen 1984). Then Attorney General Robert Kennedy and the Sargent Shriver family stayed briefly at the resort in the early 1960s, before embarking on an outing into the park (Flaherty 1983). Washington politician Henry Jackson frequented the lodge often over the years (DeMunbrun 1984). Other tavern guests include Chief Justice William O. Douglas, corporate executive Henry Ford, and singer Frank Sinatra (Roe 1979, 42).
NOTE (re: the existence of President Roosevelt's cabin)
1. Research aimed specifically at documenting the existence of the cabin that President Roosevelt stayed in is presently inconclusive. Written and verbal accounts of the President's cabin are often conflicting and problematical. While some accounts report the President stayed in one of the three cabins south of the lodge and near the lake (Nos. 661, 662, or 664), others claim he slept in Cabin 34 (No. 663). Park and other records give all four structures 1947 and 1946 construction dates which post-date Roosevelt's 1937 visit. One fairly reliable source (the "Memoirs of John 'Ray' Bruckart, Sr.," who accompanied Roosevelt on much of his Olympic Peninsula tour) notes that, "The President, his Secret Service bodyguard, and his valet occupied a small guest cottage adjacent to the main resort building." (One wonders how all these individuals could occupy one "small guest cabin.") Since the President was physically handicapped it seems logical that his sleeping cottage would have been easily accessed and close to the main lodge, where the President took his dinner and breakfast. One or two cottages just south of the lodge (that appear in pre-1949 historic photos) were removed at the time of the 1949 construction of the lounge addition to the lodge. Finally, although "Cabin 34" is often given in existing literature as the President's quarters, some cabin numbers have changed over the years. Establishing the present-day existence of President Roosevelt's sleeping quarters at Singer's Lakke Crescent Tavern will require further in-depth research, making use of such sources as local daily newspapers and firsthand accounts, presuming such potential informants are still living and locatable.
Barnes Point, a relatively level portion of land jutting into the lake from the south shore, and the 1890s homesite and namesake of the Barnes family, was selected as the site for the large resort operation known as Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern. In 1914 Avery J. and Julia Singer purchased several acres of lakeshore property from Helen G. Burkhardt (see Appendix A). Construction of the resort began immediately. In May 1915 a local newspaper enthusiastically reported the building developments on the Singers' 7.71-acre building site:
The Singers apparently spared no expense or effort in establishing their new resort, investing nearly $50,000.00 in its development (Olympic-Leader 1915a, 7 May).
A visual inspection of the roof rafters in the present dining area of the lodge building (Bldg. No. 654) in the fall of 1983 revealed that the south half of the dining room was, in fact, constructed prior to the main two-story lodge building. This portion of the building possibly served as part of (or all of) the early dining room and kitchen section of the lodge, and predates the rest of the building. The 1915 completion of the main lodge, and a long single row of single and duplex cabins (Bldg. Nos. 668-674) next to the lodge, is verified by a brochure that promoted the scenic wonders of the Olympic Peninsula published in December of that year (Seattle, Port Angeles & Western Railway Co. 1915). Today the two-story main lodge (Bldg. No. 654) with the south half of the present one-story dining room ell, plus eighteen of the original single and double cabins (Bldg. Nos. 668-674) date from the initial months of construction.
Additional construction at the resort continued the following year under the Singers' industrious proprietorship. In August 1916 the Port Angeles Evening News reported that "the summer dining room, all enclosed in glass, is most attractive. It is finished in green and white and presents a most refreshing and inviting appearance. Many new cottages have been put up this summer also . . ." (Port Angeles Evening News 1916, 7 August). It is possible that in that year the north half of the present lodge dining room (Bldg. No. 654), which features a continuous band of double-hung sash windows on the north and east walls, may have been added to the existing one-story ell. (Figure 3 documents the existence of the north half of the dining room in the summer of 1926.) Exactly which cabins were completed during the summer of 1916 is unclear. Two early photographs (See Figures 1 and 2) of the lodge and surrounding grounds depict the resort around 1916.
During the next four years of Singer ownership, building construction at the resort continued. To the south of the main lodge, the Singers erected additional one-story, wood frame service buildings. Extant buildings that date from this early period of construction include the Boys' Dorm (Bldg. No. 657), the Sleeping Quarters (Bldg. No. 666), and the Storage Building (Bldg. No. 682) (see Appendix C). Several other wood frame buildings appear to date from the Singers' initial building phase and were located in the area south of the main lodge building (see Figures 4, 5, and 6).
North of the lodge building along the lake shoreline, frame and canvas tent cabins were erected in the area of the presently existing row of six cabins (Bldg. Nos. 675-680) (Veith 1984). These temporary tent cabins were presumably replaced by the present row of permanent cabins by the late 1910s. Although little photographic or written documentary evidence precisely dates this linear row of lakeshore cabins, and exterior remodeling has altered their original appearance, the windows and doors, design details, and certain methods of construction closely resemble those used in the initial row of cabins built 1915 (Bldg. 668-674). In addition, county tax assessment records indicate that by 1920 the value of building improvements on the Lake Crescent Tavern property peaked at $4,000.000 and remained at that level for the next twelve years. By 1919 or 1920 Avery and Julia Singer completed all major building construction work on their resort property (see Appendix B).
Not content with simply building buildings, the Singers were equally interested in creating a civilized and tranquil setting within the much larger, grander context of the "Alpine Lake" environment of Lake Crescent. Even before the main lodge was completed, a May 1915 newspaper article exclaimed that the Singers' grounds were "wonderfully beautiful. The many cultivated plants, flowers, vines, and shrubs have an ideal background in the grand old forest which surround the place on both sides and through [sic] which are cut pretty winding paths and trails" (Olympic-Leader 1915a, 7 May). Later that summer, a journalist noted that the grounds included, "A big shady lawn, bypaths and cozy nooks, backed by jagged mountains" (Olympic-Leader 1915, 6 August).
Continued effort to beautify the grounds with exotic shrubs, trees, and flowers is mentioned in subsequent issues of local newspapers (Port Angeles 1916, 7 August) and is clearly evident in early photographs of Singer's Tavern. Trees and shrubs were staked around the lodge and easterly row of guest cabins (see Figures 1, 2 and 7). Wisteria, roses and variegated holly are plantings that presumably date from the Singer era of development (Flaherty 1983; DeMunbrun 1984). A single row of apple and pear trees once standing at the west edge of the field (Thompsen 1984) may also have been planted by the Singers. In addition to strolling on paths on the resort grounds or through the adjoining forest, the Singers provided a golf course (Veith 1984) and a horseshoe pit (see Figure 8) for the added pleasure of tavern guests. The sale of the Singers' "Lake Crescent Lodge" corporation in 1927 marked the end of an era characterized by exuberant and robust development.
Under the brief (1927-1930), three-year ownership and proprietorship of Aime and Ermine Michaud (see Appendix A), significant new construction on the resort site languished. In 1930, when the Seattle Trust Company acquired the twenty-nine acre lodge property by default, the resort complex was probably much as the Singers left it. In 1930 a deed record inventory of the Lake Crescent Tavern property included the main lodge, cottages, heating plant, laundry, lighting plant, bath house, store house, water plant, "floating equipment" (including canoes, row boats, and launches), and the golf course (Land Title Company of Clallam County 1930, 14 February). For the next twelve years the assessed value of physical improvements to the property actually dropped below the level it reached under the Singers' ownership (see Appendix B). As with other Olympic Peninsula resorts, Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern could not escape the economic hard times of the national depression. Following the Depression, World War II diverted human and economic resources away from recreational pursuits to the war effort.
Between 1927 and 1945, while shrubs and trees grew and matured, the only discernable building improvements made to Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern were limited to the construction of a boat house (OLYM 1951-1984), a storage building, a shop building, and the possible construction of three or four cabins at the western edge of the large open field and behind the row of original 1915 cabins (see Figure 9). In addition, the row of lakeshore cabins may have been resheathed and connected at the roofline in the late 1930s. Only three buildings in the present Singer ensemble, the Shop (Bldg. No. 656), the Storage Building (Bldg. No. 1268), and Cabin 43 (presently Cabin 32, Bldg. No. 681), date from this eighteen-year period. The Singer's of the 1940s was relatively unchanged from the Singer's of the 1920s (see Figures 10 and 11).
The next six years (1945-1951) were a period of slight revival for the thirty-year-old resort. The improvement in the national and regional economy, and the infusion of new energy that came with new owners, was reflected in several physical improvements made to the property in the mid- to late-1940s. Beginning in the mid-1940s, owners Walter and Bessie Bovee took measures to "fix-up" the grounds and buildings at Singer's (Boyd 1984). Under the ownership and management of Loyal and Martha Carstensen, and George Veith, three cottages were erected south of the lodge near the lakeshore (Bldg. Nos. 661, 662, 664) (Veith 1984). That same year tennis courts were built east of the main lodge at the edge of the open field (Veith 1984).
The main lodge building (Bldg. No. 654) received considerable attention as well. Around 1947 the kitchen area was remodeled (principally involving changes to internal wall partitions), and a small addition was constructed at the rear (south side) of the building (Veith 1984). Two years later, in 1949, the lodge received a major addition on the south wall (see Figure 12) in the form of a cocktail lounge (first floor) and manager's apartment (second floor) (Veith 1984).
During this abbreviated revival period, promotional literature depicted Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern as a resort with a homey and comfortable atmosphere with "a friendly lounge, huge fireplace, attractive sun porch, pleasant dining room [and] 38 cottages, modern throughout [with] steam heat, individual fireplaces and stoves" (Olympic Peninsula Resort and Hotel Association ca. 1946). In 1951, as the National Park Service made preparations to purchase the entire resort complex, a property appraisal noted the presence of a total of nearly thirty individual buildings (Eastman 1951).
Thirteen years after the establishment of Olympic National Park in 1938, the National Park Service purchased Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern. Shortly thereafter, and ever since, National Park Concessions, Inc. has managed the resort under lease agreement with the Park Service. This final era in the physical history of Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern is characterized by a potpourri of maintenance work, demolition and new construction. In the mid- to late-1950s, the main lodge building (Bldg. No. 654) received the addition of outside stairs leading to the second floor manager's apartment on the south side of the building, as well as a small, one-story addition under these stairs (Thompsen 1984).
Under the National Park Service Mission 66 program in the 1960s, the master plan for the entire resort complex called for the replacement of the original lodge buildings with a new $105,000.00 structure (OLYM 1953-1962). This proposal was never carried out. Minimal interior work was completed in the dining area to repair fire damage resulting from a May 1971 fire (North Olympic Library 1971). In the mid-1970s, the Park Service expended a considerable sum on installing a sprinkler system in the lodge (and elsewhere at the resort) (OLYM 1975, 1976). In 1980 and 1981, plans for the lodge called for its complete interior renovation and the construction of a new foundation (OLYM 1980, 1981).
Since the Park Service acquired ownership in 1951, the cabins at Singer's have received periodic repairs and remodeling. In the late 1950s new brushed hemlock paneling replaced the shiplap wall covering on the interior of the easterly row of cabins (Bldg. Nos. 668-673). At the same time, the painted board floors in these cabins were replaced by fir flooring (Thompsen 1984). The row of lake shore cabins (Bldg. Nos. 675-680) likewise was the subject of periodic remodeling. In the late 1950s or early 1970s, vertical board and batten wood siding was replaced by synthetic simulated wood paneling (DeMunbrun 1984; Thompsen 1984). The flooring, steps, and roofs of both rows of cabins have been rebuilt and reshingled at least once during the past thirty years of Park Service ownership (DeMunbrun 1984; Thompsen 1984).
Certain buildings in the Singer complex have been altered since 1951 to accommodate changing needs of the resort. To the southeast of the lodge building an outdoor recreation building built over a concrete slab foundation was fully enclosed in the late 1950s or early 1960s and now serves as a maintenance shop (Bldg. No. 681) (Atwell 1984; Thompsen 1984; Eastman 1951). At about the same time, Cabin 43 (now Cabin 32, Bldg. No. 681) was extended approximately sixteen feet to the east (Eastman 1951; Thompsen 1984).
During the National Park Service's Mission 66 program in the 1960s the Park Service planned the construction of extensive new facilities and the gradual removal of the older structures. Over a five-year period a total of $225,000.00 was earmarked for facilities improvements at Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern. These improvements included the construction of fifty additional guest rooms, a central building to replace the lodge, and maintenance and employee buildings (OLYM 1960). In reality, only three buildings were completed during this period: a ten-unit one-story motel structure (Bldg. Nos. 940, 941) in 1959, and a two-story motel unit (Bldg. No. 947) in 1962 (OLYM current; Atwell 1984). An expanded parking lot was put in behind the row of lakeshore cabins upon completion of these two motel units.) In 1975 the Park Service replaced the existing dock with a shorter dock (OLYM 1975).
Since the National Park Service acquired ownership, several buildings at the resort have been demolished. Early in the 1950s, a boat house on Barnes Creek, at the south boundary of the property, was dismantled (Eastman 1951; Thompsen 1984). In the late 1950s, a 70' x 17' open-sided garage and storage shed was razed for the construction of an enlarged parking lot behind the lakeshore row of cabins (OLYM 1951-1984; Eastman 1951; Thompsen 1984). Additional buildings removed between 1965 and the mid-1970s included a generator house and tool shed, a chlorinator house, a wood shed and cabin, and two employees' quarters (Eastman 1951; OLYM 1951-1984). Since the mid-1970s, no major new construction or demolition has taken place at Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern.
It is the opinion of the National Park Service that Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. This approximately ten-acre district, comprised of twenty-seven individual structures, landscaped grounds, a large open meadow, and a bordering edge of native trees and plants, meets three of the four criteria of eligibility for the National Register.
Developed by the Department of the Interior, National Park Service, the National Register criteria for evaluation of significance states that "the quality of significance in American history, architecture, archeology, and culture is present in districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association, and:
Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern meets the following National Register criteria.
Criteria A: The presence of Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern contributes to our understanding of a broad pattern of American history at both the national and regional levels.
Nationally, the establishment of Singer's reflects America's growing idealization of, and appreciation for, natural wilderness settings. Seeking reprieve from crowded, industrialized, urban spaces, a growing number of Americans turned to nature for mental and physical diversion and renewal after the turn-of-the-century. Invariably, newly mobile vacationists brought with them the desire for certain civilized amenities borne out of this new era of technology. The solid substantiality and amenities offered at Singer's, in an area that was long publicized and perceived as America's "last wilderness," typifies the general American view that natural and wild settings could best be appreciated from a vantage point of familiar comforts and urbane pleasures. The wilderness experience at Lake Crescent Tavern provided guests with such modern conveniences as electricity, steam heat and modern plumbing, amidst a setting of rare natural beauty.
As an invention of America's industrialized age, the automobile, for the first time, provided a means of penetrating remote, inaccessible natural areas previously affordable only to those with substantial amounts of time and financial means. The 1915 opening of the trans-Olympic Peninsula thoroughfare, which opened the peninsula to residents of Seattle and larger Puget Sound towns, and the opening of Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern on this road, in that same year was no coincidence. Singer's represents a time when the automobile emerged as the means of allowing a growing number of vacationists to experience first-hand the tranquility and adventure of unsullied natural places.
Regionally, the establishment and success of Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern marks an important point in the recreational development of the Olympic Peninsula. While other smaller, more rustic resorts existed at several locations on the peninsula prior to the construction of a substantial road, it was road access to this remote wilderness region that provided the greatest single impetus for realizing the peninsula's potential for resort development. Completion of a major thoroughfare stretching across the peninsula, and the establishment of Singer's, both in 1915, opened the north peninsula for more intense recreational development.
Criteria A and B: President Franklin D. Roosevelt lodged at Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern on 30 September 1937. His visit marked the first time an American president came to the peninsula's Clallam County. Meetings conducted at Singer's with Roosevelt and several state politicians and Park and Forest Service officials were influential in the drafting and passage of enabling legislation for the creation of a large national park on the Olympic Peninsula.
Criteria C: Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type and historical period, and represents a significant and distinguishable entity. The Singer's building ensemble, consisting of a main lodge, two linear rows of individual cabins, and service buildings, all located in a consciously landscaped setting, represents a type of resort establishment typical of its day. Lake Crescent, alone, at one time supported between fifteen and twenty tourist resort developments. For several decades Singer's stood as one of the largest and most substantial resorts on the lake. Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern is one of only two resorts (the other being Rosemary Inn) dating from the early period of resort development on the north Olympic Peninsula that retains much of its physical integrity and ambience. All other early Lake Crescent resorts have either been removed or are severely altered. Singer's is the only and the oldest Lake Crescent resort that has operated continuously as a resort.
Integrity: In addition, Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern building ensemble possesses integrity of:
Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern, with its building and surrounding grounds, presently represents a distinct entity. The configuration of buildings in the landscaped setting remains relatively unaltered since its first thirteen-year period of operation by the Singers. Areas of building demolition, alteration and new construction exist primarily outside the core of the ensemble, comprised of the lodge (Bldg. No. 654) and earliest constructed single row of cabins to the east (Bldg. Nos. 668-673). Of the twenty-seven individual buildings in the Singer complex, at least eighteen are more than fifty years old. Only three of the twenty-seven are unsympathetic (or non-contributing) in design, materials and siting to the original Singer building ensemble (Bldg. Nos. 940, 941 and 947).
Boyd, John W.
Dalton, Russell Collection (Port Angeles,
Dodge, H. F.
Eastman, Leslie W.
Land Title Company of Clallam County (Port Angeles,
Lauridsen, G. M. and A. A. Smith
Morse, Samuel Howard
North Olympic Library (Port Angeles, Washington)
Olympic-Leader (Port Angeles,
Olympic National Park, Port Angeles, Washington
Olympic Peninsula Resort and Hotel Association
Port Angeles Evening News (Port Angeles, Washington)
Reid, Robert A. (comp.)
Seattle, Port Angeles & Western Railway Company
Last Updated: 23-Jul-2010