It’s All in the Details: Timberline Lodge

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Lodges, Arts and Crafts, “Parkitecture“–if it has large wood beams, count me in! I made a trip back to the Pacific Northwest last week and was excited to visit some familiar haunts like Timberline Lodge with new eyes (I haven’t been back to Timberline since I graduated college!).

Timberline Lodge is a ski lodge that was built on the slopes of Mount Hood, in Oregon, in 1937. It was the coming together of a rising popularity in outdoor recreation, the skills of craftsmen and artisans in the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and the rustic architecture that was coming out of the National Parks (or “Parkitecture”). The original design came from none other than Gilbert Stanely Underwood, who designed the Bryce Canyon Lodge (remember this?), Zion Lodge, and Yosemite’s Ahwahnee Lodge.  Underwood focused on using natural, local materials, and one of his major design contributions to Timberline Lodge is an 800,000 pound stone chimney that is the centerpiece of the first and second floor lobbies.

William Turner and Linn Forrest, U.S. Forest Service architects, adapted Underwood’s original plan to open up the wings, leading to the broad massing of the lodge you can see on the slopes of Mount Hood, today. Turner called the Lodge “Cascadian Architecture,” with special note to the high-peeked roof, which mimics the shape of the Cascadian volcano behind.

Timberline Lodge is a masterpiece of architecture that, among other WPA and CCC projects, shows a skill and work ethic of the Great Depression that goes unparalleled. It stands, a testament to history, but lives on as a ski lodge: even last week, the lobby floor was crisscrossed by outdoor-enthusiasts, decked out in ski gear. Boots on their feet and jackets in their hands, they headed out to find those last patches of skiable snow, using Timberline as it was always meant to be used, a ski lodge.

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Sources and Further Reading:

The history of Timberline, via Timberline Lodge.

Timberline has puppies? Yes, it’s true! Read more (and see pictures) here.

Check out my article on Bryce Canyon National Park here. What’s that? I’ve also written about Parkitecture before? Check out The Architecture of National Parks.

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One thought on “It’s All in the Details: Timberline Lodge

  1. […] As 2018 draws to a close, I’ve been looking back at everything that happened this year. I left my job at the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust (loved it there!) for a position as a historic preservation urban planner that I love even more. I also got married (in a historic building of course–sneak peek below!) and traveled to dozen states including Utah, Indiana, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Rhode Island, California, and Oregon. […]

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