Situated on the southern slope of Mt. Hood, the tallest mountain in the state, the Timberline Lodge was built between 1936 and 1938. It was the result of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal Program, specifically as a project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The budget for this federally-funded lodge was $1 million. The WPA was by far the largest, as well as one of the most controversial New Deal programs. The WPA put the unemployed back to work by enlisting them to work on several public works projects. The lodge is historically significant not only for its association with the WPA program but also for its "mountain," Cascadian style architecture.
Backstory and Context
Funding for the lodge was made available through the WPA in 1935, and architect Gilbert Stanley was selected to design the structure. The design involved the "typical rustic features" of a national park and it was to be asymmetrical. The lodge itself was constructed from large, local timber and stones. With the help of other architects, Tim Turner, Linn Forrest, Howard Gifford, and Dean Wright, all helped draw up the design plans and now the goal was to bring the concept to fruition. The themes for the interior of the lodge were thought up by The Director of Oregon's WPA, Emerson J. Griffith, and included pioneer life, wildlife, and Native American culture. The Oregon WPA was able to commission several notable artists to complete the murals, paintings, and carvings. The interior designer, Margery Hoffman Smith incorporated details such as the wrought-iron detailing and wood furnishings.
Closed during WWII and reopened several years later, the lodge, as well as the ski facilities, fell into disrepair. However, Richard L. Kohnstamm completely overhauled the place and had it up and running with ski education programs and other activities. Kohnstamm passed away, but the lodge and ski facilities are still run by his family, Additions to the area include a convention building as well as a day lodge for skiers. Timberline Lodge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in December of 1977. The Lodge is a great place to stay on vacation or when visiting the skiing area. Guests can stay overnight in one of the intricately decorated rooms, and enjoy the fireplace in the ground lobby. Visitors can actually experience a part of history as well as the great outdoors.
"History." Timberline Lodge. Accessed April 20, 2017. https://www.timberlinelodge.com/about-us/history.
Munro, Sarah. "Timberline Lodge." The Oregon Encyclopedia. Accessed April 20, 2017. https://oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/timberline_lodge/#.WQqdFFPys6U.
Pitts, Carolyn. "Timberline Lodge." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. November 12, 1973. https://npgallery.nps.gov/GetAsset/788bf4ec-fd0b-4c08-a09a-6a687b8c3533.
"Timberline Lodge." Historic Hotels of America. Accessed April 20, 2017. http://www.historichotels.org/hotels-resorts/timberline-lodge.