Historic Structures Report
The purpose of this Historic Structure Report is to provide an effective tool for the management of the Chateau at the Oregon Caves National Monument. Three primary sources served the archival research, including the National Park Service's history files at Crater Lake National Park, the correspondence and history files of the concessionaire at the Oregon Caves National Monument, and the University of Oregon's library system. The primary sources used in this document are located at Crater Lake National Park and in the concessionaire's files. Limited original drawings of the building exist in the NPS files at the Monument, and served as secondary sources along with the University of Oregon's library materials.
The second aspect of the report, the assessment and recommendations for treatment, were a field-based component of the research. An on-site evaluation of the Chateau was completed over a two-week time period, in which the building was assessed on a system by system basis.
The assessment was completed in three phases. The first phase was a room by room evaluation of the Chateau at the interior, followed by a system by system evaluation of the exterior. At this point it was realized that the problems noted in the assessment are typical throughout each system or component within the building, and the assessment is presented systematically to reflect this condition. The systematic recordation of the assessment was the second phase, and led to the third phase of the procedure, the recommendations within this report. A return trip to the site was required for verification of certain issues, after the assessment was drafted. This third phase also coincided with the photography contained in the report, as the critical problematic elements were recorded photographically.
Major Assessment Findings
The Chateau, at the time of this writing, is 65 years old. Many of the problems noted in the assessment are the result of both the aging of the building and the local climatic conditions. However, the building has some specific problems resulting from deferred maintenance and unexpected natural events (i.e. the 1964 flood). It must be realized that routine maintenance and the timely repair of building elements is the best approach to the preservation of the Chateau.
The exterior treatment issues should be addressed first to guard against water infiltration and damage to building elements. These issues are, in priority order:
The roof is in need of replacement, and this work should be completed before the system begins to leak. This work must be done within the next five years, but should be completed as soon as possible.
The vegetation and drainage issues must also be addressed immediately to prevent the decay of the historic cedar bark siding, a character defining feature of the National Historic Landmark Chateau.
Exterior window work, including glazing and painting, should also be done immediately to preserve the historic wood windows that serve as the link between the interior spaces and the outside natural world.
While this exterior work is accomplished, the monitoring of the building should begin. This includes monitoring the horizontal deformation in the building's north wing, and the cracking in the north wall of the boiler room. An appropriate course of action can only be decided once these issues are monitored and it is discovered how exactly the building is behaving.
After the major exterior issues are addressed, the interior work can begin. These issues, in priority order, are:
A decision on the treatment of the interior fiberboard finishes must be reached by the concessionaire, the National Park Service, and the State Historic Preservation office. The course of action will determine how the majority of the interior finishes are treated, and will serve to protect the historic wall and ceiling finishes.
The work on the interior of the windows is also a high interior priority, including the refinishing and repair of the windows.
The balance of the interior work can be completed as time and money permit, but routine maintenance on all systems should be performed to prevent major work at a later date.
A final note is required on the Chateau's furnishings. While the individual pieces were not assessed for damage or required work in this report, the furniture should not be ignored or improperly replaced. Keeping the furniture in good condition and retaining it within the building is critical to the atmosphere of the Chateau, as much of the extant furniture in the lobby and guest rooms is original. An Historic Furnishings Report should be developed by the NPS, including recommendations for treatment of the furniture. This is outside the scope of this report, but it is important to conserve the historic furnishings, including the hand-colored Kiser photographs in the lobby and dining room.
The recommendations made within this report are intended to protect the Chateau from further decay, preserving it for future generations. Preservation of the building is the focus of the report, and all work must adhere to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Preservation. Consultants or contractors hired to work on the structure should be knowledgeable of, and adhere to, these standards.
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Last Updated: 22-Sep-2001