The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Crater Lake National Park
CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK, a government reservation created by act of Congress approved 22 May 1902. It is situated in southwestern Oregon, about 60 miles from the California boundary, on the crest of the Cascade Mountains. Measuring approximately 18 miles north and south by 13½ miles east and west, it has an area of 159,360 acres and includes the wreck of Mount Mazama, whose sides now form the bowl containing the lake that gives the park its name. The accepted explanation of such geological and topographical conditions as are observed at present is that Plutonic forces destroyed the mountain's crest, leaving a vast crater which gradually filled with clear spring water to its present depth of 2,001 feet, on all sides of which the walls of the crater still rise to heights ranging from 500 to nearly 2,000 feet. The surface of the lake, 6,177 feet above sea-level, has an area of 20¼ square miles. A movement was started by W. G. Steel 16 Aug. 1885 for the creation of a national park at this point. Until then the lake was but little known, even among the residents of southern Oregon, although its discovery occurred 12 June 1853; and Mr. Steel's plan “was successful,” he writes, “only after 17 years of strenuous labor.” The lake was first stocked with fish (rainbow trout) in 1888. A survey for a road entirely around the lake and close to the rim wherever possible was made under the direction of the Secretary of War, and a report submitted to Congress estimated the total cost at approximately $700,000. Of that amount an appropriation was made of $125,000 for use during the season of 1913, $85,000 for 1914 and $50,000 for 1915. Under these appropriations grading proceeded steadily; besides a portion of the rim road, roads from the Klamath, Medford and Pinnacles entrances were constructed; and the official report for 1915 contained the statement that a line of automobile states, maintained by the Crater Lake Company from Medford, on the main line of the Southern Pacific Railway, and from Chiloquin, on the northerly extension of the Southern Paciflc from Klamath Falls, or the Crater Lake cut-off, was rendering satisfactory service in transportation of visitors (11,371 at the close of September 1915, as against 7,096 at the same time in 1914). During the season of 1915 Crater Lake Lodge, located on the rim of the lake, nearly 1,000 feet above the water, was opened to the public; and to this building additions were made in 1916. By that time the lake had become abundantly supplied with large rainbow trout, the largest taken weighing six or seven pounds. The park, according to the superintendent's enumeration, abounds in black and brown bear, black-tailed deer, cougar, lynx, timber-wolves, coyotes, pine marten, squirrels of several varieties, ringtail grouse, the common pheasant, Clark crow, etc. During 1915 private telephone lines were purchased and lines required for the improvement of that service were constructed; progress was also made in connection with the proposed tourist village. It is evident that Klamath and Modoc Indians, who fancied that the lake held the throne of the god Llao, were not insensible to the mystery and wonder of the scene, which received its most striking characterizations — as “The sea of Silence” and “A sea of sapphire set around by a compact circle of the great grizzly rock of Yosemite” — at the hands of Joaquin Miller. The government's purpose in the creation of such parks is stated in the article National Parks and Monuments.