Monday, December 28, 2015


I suppose that for most people there are places that are very special to them; for me, one such place is Mt. Hood, Oregon.   I took this picture of it last week from a mountain lake on its shoulder that we snowshoed into:

Afterward, we went to Timberline Lodge for lunch, which is at the treeline in the distance. Funded by the Works Progress Administration, it was built in the late '30s by a combination of artists, skilled artisans and other workers made idle by the Great Depression.   President Franklin Roosevelt said in his speech dedicating it that it was built to provide emergency relief and to promote the use of the national forest for winter recreation.  The magnificent ski area operates year-round on this glacier and in the summer it is a favorite place for hiking as well. The Pacific Crest Trail passes a short distance above the Lodge.

Most winters, the outside of the Lodge resembles nothing so much as a snowbank with windows.  The interior is breathtaking.  I emphasize that I am not an authority about the Lodge.  In particular, renovations have occurred and I am not certain whether everything you see below is original.  Corrections are welcome.  Timberline Lodge was built with timber and rocks from nearby in the national forest and hardware hand-forged from scrap iron.  The three story main hall is a huge hexagon with a large stone column perhaps 12 feet or more across in the center containing many fireplaces and supporting a massive timber frame.  Regrettably, I don't have a picture that captures the scale of this hall but here is a view of the roof:

The joinery is fascinating.  This shape appears throughout the Lodge and is known as the "Timberline Arch:"

Interesting details, such as these doors, are everywhere:

The metalwork is equally beautiful.  Here are one of many sets of andirons:

some hinges:

and a staircase:

There are numerous carvings and mosaics throughout the building:

The furniture was custom designed, made in the Oregon WPA woodworking shop and suits the building perfectly.  Here is the chair made for FDR to sit in at the dedication (apologize for the poor photo taken through a window):

a table:

and a desk:

This is an active recreation area in everyday use, not a museum.  Most of the tables and chairs in the main dining room are original and have withstood eighty years of ski boots:

The chairs are sturdy, graceful and comfortable.  I think the backward curve, inward curve and detail on the top are very attractive in combination.  Notice the echo of the Timberline Arch:

This view from our table suggests one reason why most visitors don't seem to notice the chairs:

Oregon is a very special place.  I came here for a first visit almost four decades ago, looked around and found home.  Most years I take what I call my America the Beautiful lap around the State, so-called because I see everything described in the song.  I never tire of it.  Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood is a waypoint.


  1. Beautiful pictures and story!

  2. I just put Oregon on the Bucket List.
    Is that timberline regrowth after the eruption?

  3. Ralph,

    The last major eruption was in the 1790s. I suspect that this area may have been logged at one time. The trees are larger than they appear in the pictures as the scale is deceiving.

  4. I'm confusing Mt Hood with Mt St Helens - the trees looked too large to be from St Helens. Different state too.