Timberline Lodge

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Timberline Lodge
Timberline Lodge 2014.jpg
Timberline Lodge in 2014
USA Oregon location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location in Oregon
Nearest city Government Camp, Oregon
Coordinates 45°19′52″N121°42′36″W / 45.33111°N 121.71000°W / 45.33111; -121.71000
Architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood, W. I. Turner, Linn A. Forrest, Howard L. Gifford, Dean R. E. Wright
Architectural styleRustic Cascadian Neovernacular
NRHP reference No. 73001572 [1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPNovember 12, 1973
Designated NHLDecember 22, 1977 [2]

Timberline Lodge is a mountain lodge on the south side of Mount Hood in Clackamas County, Oregon, about 60 miles (97 km) east of Portland. Constructed from 1936 to 1938 by the Works Progress Administration, it was built and furnished by local artisans during the Great Depression. Timberline Lodge was dedicated September 28, 1937, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.


The National Historic Landmark sits at an elevation of 6,000 feet (1,829 m), within the Mount Hood National Forest and is accessible through the Mount Hood Scenic Byway. [3] Publicly owned and privately operated, Timberline Lodge is a popular tourist attraction that draws two million visitors annually. [4] It is notable in film for serving as the exterior of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining (1980).

The lodge and its grounds host a ski resort, also known as Timberline Lodge. It has the longest skiing season in the U.S., and is open for skiers and snowboarders all 12 months of the year. Activities include skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, hiking, biking, and climbing.

Design and construction

Bronze "snow goose" weather vane above the head house Snow-Goose-Weather-Vane.jpg
Bronze "snow goose" weather vane above the head house
Purchased for $2.10 each, discarded cedar utility poles were repurposed as newel posts—19 of them crowned with carvings of area wildlife. [5] :142
Fire screen made from tire chains and irons forged from old railroad rails
Operation and Information WPA Camp-1936.jpg
WPA workers lived in a nearby tent city while building Timberline Lodge (1936).

Each workman on Timberline Lodge gained proficiency in manual arts. He was a better workman, a better citizen, progressing by infinitely-slow steps to the degree above him.

The Builders of Timberline Lodge, Federal Writers' Project [6]

Timberline Lodge, a mountain lodge and resort hotel, is a four-story structure of about 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2). The ground-level exterior walls are heavy rubble masonry, using boulders from the immediate area, and heavy timber is used from the first floor up. The central head house section is hexagonal and sixty feet (18 m) in diameter, with a six-sided stone chimney stack ninety feet (27 m) high and fourteen feet (4.3 m) in diameter. Each of the six fireplace openings—three on the ground floor, three on the first floor—is five feet (1.5 m) wide and seven feet (2.1 m) high. Two wings, running west and southeast, flank the head house. Oregon woods used throughout the building include cedar, Douglas fir, hemlock, western juniper and ponderosa pine. [7]

The architect of Timberline Lodge is Gilbert Stanley Underwood, noted for the Ahwahnee Hotel and other lodges in the U.S. national park system. [5] :338 He produced the designs. [8] Then, his central head house was modified from an octagon to a hexagon by U.S. Forest Service architect W. I. (Tim) Turner and the team of Linn A. Forrest, Howard L. Gifford and Dean R. E. Wright. [5] :338 A recent graduate of the University of Washington, [9] forest service engineer Ward Gano was structural designer. [10] [11]

Timberline Lodge was constructed between 1936 and 1938 as a Works Progress Administration project during The Great Depression. Eighty percent of the WPA's $695,730 total expenditure on building costs went toward labor. Skilled building trade workers received ninety cents an hour; unskilled laborers received fifty-five cents an hour. Some of the skilled stonemasons on the project were Italian immigrants brought in after working on The Historic Columbia River Highway and other roads in Oregon. About a hundred construction workers were on site at a given time, and lived at a nearby tent city. Jobs were rotated to provide work. [5] :338

Materials costs were minimized by the skillful use of recycled materials. Women wove draperies, upholstery, and bedspreads. Hooked rugs were made from strips of old Civilian Conservation Corps camp blankets. Discarded cedar utility poles became newel-posts with their crowns hand-carved into birds, bears, and seals. Fireplace screens were fashioned from tire chains. Andirons and other iron work were forged from railroad tracks. WPA workers used large timbers and local stone from the site. [5] :338

"All classes, from the most elementary hand labor, through the various degrees of skill to the technically-trained, were employed," reported the WPA's Federal Writers' Project. "Pick and shovel wielders, stonecutters, plumbers, carpenters, steam-fitters, painters, wood-carvers, cabinet-makers, metal workers, leather-toolers, seamstresses, weavers, architects, authors, artists, actors, musicians, and landscape planners, each contributed to the project, and each, in his way, was conscious of the ideal toward which all bent their energies." [6]

Federal Art Project

Federal Art Project contributions to the project were directed by Margery Hoffman Smith, Oregon Arts Project administrator. Smith created many designs for textiles and rugs. She designed the iconic "snow goose", the 750-pound (340 kg) bronze weather vane above the head house. Smith based the abstract forms incised into the lodge chimney on the art of the local Tenino people. Likely-acquainted with William Gray Purcell, a fellow resident of Portland, Smith saw the Prairie School aesthetic carried through in tables, chairs, sectional sofas, columns, bedspreads, draperies, lampshades, and pendant lighting fixtures. She commissioned murals, paintings and carvings from Oregon's WPA artists. [5] :338–339


Dedication plaque
FDR at lectern, dedicating Timberline Lodge (September 28, 1937)

During an inspection tour of government activities in the western U.S., President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated Timberline Lodge on September 28, 1937. [12] In his speech, he said:

This Timberline Lodge marks a venture that was made possible by WPA, emergency relief work, in order that we may test the workability of recreational facilities installed by the Government itself and operated under its complete control.

Here, to Mount Hood, will come thousands and thousands of visitors in the coming years. Looking east toward eastern Oregon with its great livestock raising areas, these visitors are going to visualize the relationship between the cattle ranches and the summer ranges in the forests. Looking westward and northward toward Portland and the Columbia River, with their great lumber and other wood using industries, they will understand the part which National Forest timber will play in the support of this important element of northwestern prosperity.

Those who will follow us to Timberline Lodge on their holidays and vacations will represent the enjoyment of new opportunities for play in every season of the year. I mention specially every season of the year because we, as a nation, I think, are coming to realize that the summer is not the only time for play. I look forward to the day when many, many people from this region of the Nation are going to come here for skiing and tobogganing and various other forms of winter sports." [13]

He dedicated the lodge, saying, "I am here to dedicate the Timberline Lodge and I do so in the words of the bronze tablet directly in front of me on the coping of this wonderful building: 'Timberline Lodge, Mount Hood National Forest dedicated September 28, 1937, by the President of the United States as a monument to the skill and faithful performance of workers on the rolls of the Works Progress Administration'".

FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt enjoyed a celebratory luncheon including salmon and huckleberry pie. [5] :339 In her My Day column, Mrs. Roosevelt praised the lodge's architectural features: "It is built exclusively of native products and by WPA labor. The interesting central fire place with its many openings is a feature I have seen in no other building of its kind and no where have I seen such big timbers used. All the furniture, all the hangings, all the iron work as well, were made by WPA workers. Here is a group of workers who have the makings of a handcraft organization, and I hope their work will be appreciated. Mr. Griffith, the state WPA administrator, must be happy over the work done here." [14]

Most work was complete at the time of the dedication. After some interior details were finished, [15] the lodge opened to the public February 4, 1938. [9]


Franklin Roosevelt's vision of winter sports at Timberline Lodge took hesitant steps the following year. A portable rope tow was installed, and construction began on the Magic Mile chairlift, which opened November 1939.

Closed during the winter of 1942-43 because of World War II, Timberline Lodge fell into decline. Mt. Hood and Timberline Lodge, 1943.jpg
Closed during the winter of 1942–43 because of World War II, Timberline Lodge fell into decline.

In the lodge's early years, none of its four operators were willing or able to maintain it. By 1955, Timberline Lodge was closed. [16]

Richard Kohnstamm, the next operator, recalled difficulties due to financing problems because the government claimed they owned it. Kohnstamm decided to maintain the place as if he owned it; he lost money during his first five years of operation, but his timing was fortuitous. He took over only a few years before skiing exploded in popularity in the late 1950s. That popularity helped the family generate a profit starting in 1960. Kohnstamm, "the man who saved Timberline", [17] died at the age of 80 on April 21, 2006. Kohnstamm's son Jeff is the Area Operator of Timberline Lodge.

As a shooting location


Timberline Lodge in the summer of 2006 Timlodge.jpg
Timberline Lodge in the summer of 2006

Exterior views of Timberline Lodge were used in The Shining (1980), Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation of Stephen King's 1977 novel set at the fictional Overlook Hotel. The staff and owners were concerned that guests would be reluctant to stay in Room 217 if it were featured in a horror movie; the management requested the room number be changed to the fictional Room 237, which Kubrick granted. [18] :162 [19] [20]

Other feature films shot at or around Timberline Lodge include Jingle Belles (1941), [21] Bend of the River (1952), All the Young Men (1960), Lost Horizon (1973), Hear No Evil (1993), and Wild (2014). [22]


Brief exterior views of a snowy Timberline Lodge were used as a stand-in for a "Bavarian Ski Resort" in multiple episodes of Hogan's Heroes . Director Boris Sagal was killed in an accident on the third day of filming the NBC-TV miniseries World War III (1982), after he walked into the tail rotor blades of a helicopter in Timberline Lodge's parking lot. [23]


In 2017, the inaugural Overlook Film Festival was held at Timberline Lodge. [24] [25] The following year, the festival moved to New Orleans, Louisiana. [26] [27]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Works Progress Administration</span> U.S. government program of the 1930s and 1940s

The Works Progress Administration was an American New Deal agency that employed millions of jobseekers to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. It was set up on May 6, 1935, by presidential order, as a key part of the Second New Deal.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mount Hood</span> Stratovolcano in Oregon, United States

Mount Hood is a potentially active stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc. It was formed by a subduction zone on the Pacific coast and rests in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located about 50 mi (80 km) east-southeast of Portland, on the border between Clackamas and Hood River counties. In addition to being Oregon's highest mountain, it is one of the loftiest mountains in the nation based on its prominence, and it offers the only year-round lift-served skiing in North America.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Multnomah Falls</span> Waterfall in Oregon, U.S.

Multnomah Falls is a waterfall located on Multnomah Creek in the Columbia River Gorge, east of Troutdale, between Corbett and Dodson, Oregon, United States. The waterfall is accessible from the Historic Columbia River Highway and Interstate 84. Spanning two tiers on basalt cliffs, it is the tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon at 620 ft (189 m) in height. The Multnomah Creek Bridge, built in 1914, crosses below the falls, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mount Hood National Forest</span> National forest in Oregon, United States

The Mount Hood National Forest is a U.S. National Forest in the U.S. state of Oregon, located 62 miles (100 km) east of the city of Portland and the northern Willamette River valley. The Forest extends south from the Columbia River Gorge across more than 60 miles (97 km) of forested mountains, lakes and streams to the Olallie Scenic Area, a high lake basin under the slopes of Mount Jefferson. The Forest includes and is named after Mount Hood, a stratovolcano and the highest mountain in the state.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mount Hood Wilderness</span> Protected area

The Mount Hood Wilderness is a protected wilderness area inside the Mount Hood National Forest, in the U.S. state of Oregon. The area, covering 64,742 acres (26,200 ha), includes the peak of Mount Hood and its upper slopes, and ranges from temperate rain forests at the lower elevations, to glaciers and rocky ridges at higher elevations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mount Hood Skibowl</span> Ski area in Oregon, United States

Mount Hood Skibowl is a recreation area on Mount Hood located near Government Camp, Oregon. It is the largest night ski area in the United States, and the total skiable area encompasses an area of 960 acres (388 ha). The resort is the closest ski venue to Portland, with an elevation of 3,600 feet (1,097 m) at the lodge, rising to just over 5,000 feet (1,524 m) at the summit. The average snowfall at the area is 300 inches (762 cm), with an average consolidated base around 100 inches (254 cm) and 65 marked trails. The area is also popular for summer recreation with mountain biking. An adventure park in the area includes alpine slides, zip-line, and bungee jumping. As well as other outdoor activities. Just across the highway is Government Camp, the focal point of Mount Hood.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Silcox Hut</span> United States historic place

The Silcox Hut is a small rustic mid-mountain lodge located at 6,950 feet (2,120 m) elevation on Mount Hood, Oregon, United States. It is approximately 1,000 feet (300 m) vertical above Timberline Lodge and roughly one mile distance directly up the mountain.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Magic Mile</span> Aerial chairlift in Oregon, United States

The Magic Mile is an aerial chairlift at Timberline Lodge ski area, Mount Hood, Oregon, U.S. It was named for its unique location above the tree line and for its original length. When constructed by Byron Riblet in 1938, it was the longest chairlift in existence, the second in the world to be built as a passenger chairlift, and the first to use metal towers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Timberline Lodge ski area</span> Ski area in Oregon, United States

Timberline Lodge ski area is the ski and snowboarding area of Timberline Lodge, a National Historic Landmark in the U.S. state of Oregon. It is one of a few ski areas in the United States with most of the skiable terrain below the main lodge. It is located on the south face of Mount Hood, about 60 miles (95 km) east of Portland, accessible via the Mount Hood Scenic Byway.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Salmon River (Clackamas County, Oregon)</span> River in Oregon, United States

The Salmon River is a 33.5-mile (53.9 km) river in the Cascade Range in the U.S. state of Oregon that drains part of southwestern Mount Hood. The entire length of the river is a protected National Wild and Scenic River. Several portions are in protected wilderness. It is affluent to the Sandy River, a tributary of the Columbia River.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ski lodge</span>

A ski lodge or day lodge is a building located in a ski area that provides amenities such as food, beverages, seating area, restrooms, and locker rooms for skiers and snowboarders. Larger resorts have a day lodge at each base area and also at mid-mountain, summit, or remote locations within the ski area.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Snow Bunny</span>

Snow Bunny is a small snow play area in Mount Hood National Forest on the south face of Mount Hood in Oregon, United States, about 65 miles (105 km) east of Portland. Inner tubing, tobogganing and other snow sports are on a maintained 20-foot (6.1 m) to 30-foot (9.1 m) hill of snow, popular with young children and families. It was established in 1952 as Mount Hood's first snow play area for children.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles Heaney</span>

Charles Edward Heaney (1897–1981) was an American painter and printmaker. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, he worked for the Works Progress Administration as an artist and did several works featuring Mount Hood and Timberline Lodge as the subject matter.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Timberline Trail</span> Hiking trail in Oregon, USA

Timberline Trail is a hiking trail around Mount Hood in the U.S. state of Oregon. It is mostly in wilderness but also goes near Timberline Lodge, Cloud Cap Inn, and Mount Hood Meadows ski area.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Upper Sandy Guard Station Cabin</span> United States historic place

The Upper Sandy Guard Station Cabin is a log and stone building built in 1935. It was funded as part of the Federal work relief Emergency Relief Appropriations Act of that year, and also by funds from the City of Portland, Oregon.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Statue of Benjamin Franklin (Portland, Oregon)</span> Statue of Benjamin Franklin in Portland, Oregon

A statue of Benjamin Franklin stands outside Franklin High School, in Portland, Oregon's South Tabor neighborhood, in the United States. A work by the sculptor George Berry and his assistants, it was installed in 1942.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Margery Hoffman Smith</span> American painter, craftsperson, interior designer, and lecturer

Margery Hoffman Smith (1888–1981) was an American painter, craftsperson, interior designer, and lecturer, known as the "grande dame of arts and crafts" for her design work at the Timberline Lodge.

Aimee Spencer Gorham was an artist known for wood marquetry murals and stained glass work in the northwestern United States. Her work was exhibited at the 1939 World's Fair and can be found at the Portland Art Museum, Oregon State University, Timberline Lodge, and numerous public buildings in Oregon. Gorham was also named an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects.

The Overlook Film Festival is an annual film festival that takes place each May, showcasing horror films and live performances. The inaugural event took place at the Timberline Lodge in Mount Hood, Oregon in 2017. Since 2018, the festival has been held in New Orleans, Louisiana.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Summit Pass (Oregon)</span> Ski area in Oregon, United States

Summit Pass is a small ski area located on Mount Hood, alongside the Mount Hood Highway in Government Camp, Oregon. Built in 1927, it is the oldest ski area in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to downhill skiing and snowboarding, Summit also offers snow tubing and Nordic trails. The resort has a double chairlift, called "Homestead Lift," and a rope tow.


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