Nestled midway to the summit of Mt. Hood is Timberline Lodge, a National Historic Landmark and masterpiece of mountain lodges. Constructed of mammoth timbers and native stone in 1937, Timberline Lodge stands today as a tribute to the rugged spirit of the Pacific Northwest.*
Timberline (as the locals call it) is on the south side of the mountain, about 60 miles east of Portland. This is a popular tourist attraction where more than a million visitors come each year. The lodge was built entirely by hand - inside and out - at the height of the Depression. It was built by unemployed craftspeople hired by the Federal Works Progress Administration. It is a wonderful monument to the talents of local artists and craftsmen who used materials of the area to express the spirit of the mountain.
Architects provided for even the tiniest decorative detail, using three themes to illustrate regional heritage: hand-hewn timbers and hand-crafted furnishings to pay tribute to early pioneers, carved wood and wrought iron designs to capture the Indian spirit, and carvings of animals and paintings of wildflowers to represent wildlife native to Mt. Hood.*
A broad sloping roof rising up to a central point was designed to harmonize with the shape of the mountain and its ridges. Stone buttressed walls and massive timbers were planned to withstand heavy alpine winds and deeps snows. Blueprints included huge observation windows to bring the mountain and surrounding valleys "into" the lodge.*
Wooden salmon sculpture
silouetted against the view of the mountain above
Hand-carved stairways seen through stone archways
Massive hand-hewn timbers join the stone chimney
Doorway into Blue Ox Bar
(The back wall is a huge stained-glass rendition
of Paul Bunyan and Babe, the Blue Ox)
Mount Jefferson (seen through the doorway of the 2nd-story stone terrace)
Timberline Lodge is a fascinating place to visit. I plan to return again, perhaps sometime in the winter when the snow is deep and winter has changed the views. Perhaps my wintertime visits will be reserved for rainy days in the valley below by way of beautiful books and photos of those more adventurous than I! No matter how or when, I know that I will return to this place above the trees again in the future - if not personally, in my heart.
*with gratitude to Timberline Lodge