Timberline Lodge at Mt Hood in Oregon and the WPA

Timberline Lodge in Oregon

Timberline Lodge near Mount Hood in Oregon
Timberline Lodge near Mount Hood in Oregon | Source

The Great Depression

Rustic, scenic and the totally unique Timberline Lodge located at Mount Hood in Oregon owes its existence to the WPA ( Works Progress Administration ) and the Great Depression.

There are still people alive...fewer as time passes, of course...who have first hand memories of the Wall Street Stock Market crash in 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression which followed.

Those were terrible days!

Many hard working people found themselves out of work and out of money. Fortunes both large and small were wiped out in a matter of hours. There was a run on money and banks were forced to close.

Today's recession pales in comparison to what happened in those dark days of American history.


Trillium Lake with Mount Hood in background

Trillium Lake with Mount Hood in the background
Trillium Lake with Mount Hood in the background | Source

Trillium Lake

In 1987 my mother, niece and I spent two weeks in the beautiful State of Oregon enjoying what we could in that allotted length of time on vacation.

From Portland we had been traveling east along the Columbia River Gorge viewing the majestic waterfalls and other sites. From Hood River, Oregon we turned south and discovered Trillium Lake which stands in the shadow of Mount Hood.

No motorized boats are allowed and this pristine body of water surrounded by forest is ideal for camping, picnicking and feeding ducks of which many were in abundance the day we happened to be visiting.

It is a beautiful and peaceful setting and one in which fishing is allowed.

Scenery

We had heard about the rustic Timberline Lodge and wanted to see it for ourselves.

Accompanying us by way of scenery to and from Timberline Lodge at the lower elevations was the East Fork of the Hood River as well as verdant forested areas adjacent to the frothy and bubbling river tumbling its way over rocks, fallen logs and such.

East Fork of the Hood River in Oregon

East Fork of the Hood River
East Fork of the Hood River | Source
Forested area next to the Hood River
Forested area next to the Hood River | Source

Driving up Mount Hood to Timberline Lodge

The road we took up to the Lodge winds around for about six miles and as the name of Timberline Lodge suggests, the trees became more sparse and were smaller as we climbed in elevation. As one gets above the timberline, the landscape becomes stark and rocky. Only dwarfed and hardy vegetation exists. Timberline Lodge is situated at around 6,000 feet above sea level.


Road up to Timberline Lodge

Scenery as the road up to Timberline Lodge rises in elevation
Scenery as the road up to Timberline Lodge rises in elevation | Source

Timberline Lodge

Timberline Lodge
Timberline Lodge | Source
Hand forged door knocker
Hand forged door knocker | Source

Timberline Lodge and the WPA

The hand-crafted lodge was built with the labor of hundreds of people eager to work after suffering the effects of unemployment after the Great Depression.

The Works Progress Administration ( WPA ) was a government agency created to aid people and get them back to being self-sufficient by paying them a living wage as they worked on various projects.

The WPA and other agencies such as the CCC ( Civilian Conservation Corps ) ultimately achieved not only that goal, but created things of lasting beauty as well as utility while employing millions of people all across the country.

Part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal, the construction of roads, schools, dams, lodges such as this Timberline Lodge and many other things of lasting value took place.

People were actually taught new skills.

In the case of Timberline Lodge which was created entirely by hand , people were taught stone masonry, woodworking, blacksmith, and even crafting and sewing skills if they were unfamiliar.

Design features were well planned.

The sloping roofs are meant to accommodate snow in the winter and the overall design blends in well with the mountainous terrain surrounding the lodge.


Artists

Artists of all kinds were employed in decorating Timberline Lodge and touches of incredible beauty are seen almost everywhere one's gaze happens to land.

Timberline Lodge interior views

Mosaic tile work inside of Timberline Lodge
Mosaic tile work inside of Timberline Lodge | Source
Much hand hewn wood at Timberline Lodge
Much hand hewn wood at Timberline Lodge | Source

Timberline Lodge

Hand carved bird motif at the end of this bannister
Hand carved bird motif at the end of this bannister | Source
Looking up at the ceiling beams and handcrafted lighting fixtures
Looking up at the ceiling beams and handcrafted lighting fixtures | Source


Local materials were utilized in the creation of Timberline Lodge.




Believe it or not, Timberline Lodge was built in about a year and a half without the use of blueprints!



The woods utilized included firs and Ponderosa pine as well as Oregon white oak.



Rocks for the exterior as well as interior came from nearby canyons and were chiseled and fit into place using blocks and tackles.



Fabrics were handwoven and the designs were painstakingly and lovingly created with the idea of keeping nature, pioneer and Indian themes as subject matter.




There is such a feeling of warmth and charm inside of a place like Timberline Lodge that can be seen in few other locations.




Timberline Lodge is truly a marvel of workmanship and design!

Timberline Lodge

Massive stone fireplace in Timberline Lodge / 50th Anniversary of Timberline Lodge was being celebrated
Massive stone fireplace in Timberline Lodge / 50th Anniversary of Timberline Lodge was being celebrated | Source
Another view plus some of the hand crafted furniture
Another view plus some of the hand crafted furniture | Source
Looking down upon the fireplace and furnishings
Looking down upon the fireplace and furnishings | Source

St. Bernards inside of Timberline Lodge

Click thumbnail to view full-size
My niece with "Heidi" My mother and niece with "Bruno"
My niece with "Heidi"
My niece with "Heidi" | Source
My mother and niece with "Bruno"
My mother and niece with "Bruno" | Source

Saint Bernard dogs

There were two Saint Bernard dogs who were permanent residents at the Timberline Lodge when my mother, niece and I visited there and they gave the Lodge that extra cozy touch of home...at least for dog lovers.

Whether they had ever been called upon to rescue some of the skiers from mishaps while on Mount Hood, I do not know. They are bred and built to do such things!

We decided to take a break and enjoy some refreshments while at Timberline Lodge after touring the public rooms and listening to descriptions as to how the lodge was created.

A veggie plate and dip was ordered along with some liquid refreshments. It gave my mother, niece and I some time to enjoy more of the ambiance of this beautiful place.

Timberline Lodge

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Looking out one of the Timberline Lodge windows at Mount Hood. My mother and niece
Looking out one of the Timberline Lodge windows at Mount Hood.
Looking out one of the Timberline Lodge windows at Mount Hood. | Source
My mother and niece
My mother and niece | Source

Scenery at Timberline Lodge

My mother and niece
My mother and niece | Source
Hiking would be fun here!
Hiking would be fun here! | Source


Skiing at Mount Hood



Skiing is a year round sport at Mount Hood in Oregon.


As the snows which remain capping that mountain year round shrink in the summer months, people simply go up to higher elevations to enjoy that sport.


Many a person was seen carrying their snow skis back and forth to the lodge from the ski slopes. Day and night skiing is offered and a chair-lift ride can take one up to 8,520 feet above sea level to the Palmer Snowfield.



It would have been fun to have been able to spend more time at Timberline Lodge even staying there for awhile but we had other destinations in mind for this vacation trip.



Hiking would also be fun in that area!


Mount Hood as seen from Timberline Lodge in August

Mount Hood as seen from Timberline Lodge in August
Mount Hood as seen from Timberline Lodge in August | Source
Timberline Lodge: The History, Art, and Craft of an American Icon
Timberline Lodge: The History, Art, and Craft of an American Icon

We were so happy that we got to visit this stunningly gorgeous lodge...and a part of history!

 

Friends of Timberline

Except for a lovely patina that has made the wood and ironwork even more lovely over the years, that and the stonework remain pretty much the same as when originally hand-crafted creating this beautiful lodge.

Naturally the fabrics, hooked rugs and less sturdy materials would have not stood up to the test of time as well.

Fortunately there is a volunteer group of people titled the Friends of Timberline who wish to maintain the original designs as best they can. They have taken it upon themselves to hand-loom fabrics and replicate original patterns keeping the authentic old time ambiance as when the artisans first did their work in the late 1930s.

Timberline Lodge from the parking lot

A last look at Timberline Lodge from the parking lot
A last look at Timberline Lodge from the parking lot | Source

Does Timberline Lodge look like a place you would enjoy visiting?

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Visiting Timberline Lodge in Oregon is a lasting memory for me. To think that this lovely place...all hand crafted and decorated...was created after the Great Depression by numerous people of all trades and talents employed by the WPA is amazing!

Timberline Lodge

A markerTimberline Lodge -
Government Camp, OR 97028, USA
[get directions]

If you enjoyed this article, please put some stars on it. Thanks!

5 out of 5 stars from 2 ratings of Timberline Lodge at Mount Hood

© 2010 Peggy Woods

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Comments 36 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hello spseufert,

I took a look at that FB page and it is amazing! The WPA and the CCC did amazing things following the Great Depression and put many people to work. I had no idea that the City Hall of Houston, Texas was a WPA project nor that Camp David was another one. Our infrastructure of roads and bridges could certainly use an upgrading! Thanks for the link and also for your comment on this hub about Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood in Oregon. It is a fine testament to the beautiful work done by the WPA.


spseufert profile image

spseufert 3 years ago from Pennsylvania

If you like the New Deal and WPA then you're gonna love this facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/21stCenturyWPA Together we cannot fail!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hello Jools99,

Thanks for your visit and comment. By all means, if you get a chance, do spend some time in Oregon someday. It is SUCH a beautiful state!


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Peggy, great photos and an interesting hub. The lodge reminded me of Wilderness Lodge at Disney, which is kind of a pastiche of these types of lodges. Oregon looks like a beautiful state to visit. I have been to California (been to Yosemite) wish I'd had time to go further north. Votd up, etc, etc.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hello RussellLHuey,

Nice to hear that you enjoyed this hub about Timberline Lodge and Mount Hood. The artistry of the hand carved beams, artwork, etc. make this lodge truly unique. Thanks for your comment.


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