Building Oregon

Cabin, Camp Sherman Recreational Residences (Camp Sherman, Oregon)

Cabin, Camp Sherman Recreational Residences (Camp Sherman, Oregon)
LC Subject
Architecture, American Architecture--United States
Metke, Luther
Creator Display
Luther Metke (builder/contractor, 1885-1985)
This image is included in Building Oregon: Architecture of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, a digital collection which provides documentation about the architectural heritage of the Pacific Northwest.
Document: HISTORIC AMERICAN BUILDING SURVEY. Cabin C-1, Tract C, Camp Sherman Recreational Residences, Deschutes National Forest. Prepared by Donald C. Zettel. 2010.
Design Library, University of Oregon Libraries
Style Period
Rustic (European style)
Work Type
architecture (object genre) built works views (visual works) exterior views dwellings houses cabins (houses) log cabins (houses) architectural drawings (visual works) plans (orthographic projections) plans, floor
Camp Sherman >> Jefferson County >> Oregon >> West >> United States Jefferson County >> Oregon >> West >> United States Oregon >> West >> United States United States
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In Copyright
Rights Holder
University of Oregon
Building Oregon
Primary Set
Building Oregon
Is Part Of
Camp Sherman Recreational Residences (Camp Sherman, Oregon); Deschutes National Forest (Oregon)
University of Oregon
HISTORIC AMERICAN BUILDING SURVEY Cabin C- 1, Tract C, Camp Sherman Recreational Residences, Deschutes National Forest HABS No. OR-Location: Section 15, Township 15 South, Range 9 East, Jefferson County, Oregon U. S. G. S Black Butte, Oregon 7.5' Quadrangle, Universal Transverse Mercator Coordinates: 100608286E, 4921543N, NAD 83 Present Owner: John Russell and Mary Fellows Present Occupants: Seasonal occupancy Present Uses: Vacation cabin Significance: Cabin C- 1 participates in two locally important historic contexts. These are the development of recreation facilities in the Deschutes National Forest and the log construction techniques of Luther Metke, acclaimed Central Oregon log builder. PART I. HISTORICAL INFORMATION A. Physical History 1. Date of Erection: Special Use permit files at the Sisters Ranger Station show that the permit for cabin C- 1, Tract C, Camp Sherman recreational residences, was issued in 1946. Construction began after that date, possibly extending for a few years until the cabin was complete. 2. Architect: The design for C- 1 was provided by the builder, Luther Metke. 3. Original and Subsequent Owners: Branford Millar, PhD, President of Portland State University was a former owner. Present owners are John Russell and Mary Fellows. 4. Builder: The builder was Luther Metke, locally known for his log construction. 5. Original plans (orthographic projections); floor plans and Construction: ( See 2 and 4 above) 2 6. Alterations or Additions: Cabin C- 1 has been repaired and maintained over its 60- odd years. Important modifications include replacement of the sill logs, re- framing and reconstruction of the roof after damage from a falling tree, and the addition of a concrete perimeter foundation. B. Historical Context Cabin C- 1 participates in two locally important historic contexts. These are the development of recreation facilities in the Deschutes National Forest and the log construction techniques of Luther Metke, Central Oregon log builder. The Forest Service and Outdoor Recreation During the last decades of the 19th century, Euro- Americans recognized Oregon’s Cascade Range as an inspiring landscape and one well- suited to recreational pursuits. From Crater Lake at the south, to the Mt. Hood and the Columbia Gorge at the north, Oregon’s Cascades drew enthusiastic visitors. On Klamath Lake, for example, New York railroad tycoon Edward Harriman maintained a summer lodge where he was host to writer John Muir. Oregon jurist and conservationist John B. Waldo spent summers in the southern Cascades, writing about the scenery in his journal and letters. At the northern end of Oregon’s Cascades, the Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood exerted a powerful magnetism to residents of Portland and the northern Willamette Valley. Hiking, camping, and European style mountaineering were attracting enthusiasts in the 1880s and 1890s. The Oregon Alpine Club was formed in Portland in 1887 ( Rakestraw and Rakestraw 1993: 8). Two years later, Oregon notables Ladd and C. E. S. Wood built the Cloud Cap Inn at 6000’ on the flanks of Mt. Hood. Between 1909 and 1919, recreational visitors to what is now the Mt. Hood National Forest increased from 10,000 to 210,000 ( Waugh 1920). In 1893, President Grover Cleveland created the huge Cascade Range Forest Reserve, closing the Cascade Mountains to new homestead claims, and regulating grazing and logging. The Reserve contained 4,883,588 acres of alpine wilderness along the Cascade Crest. Congress established Crater Lake National Park in the southern end of the Reserve in 1902. Forest Reserves became National Forests after 1905, under the management of the USDA Forest Service. The new agency was led by Gifford Pinchot, who was interested in outdoor recreation, but probably did not see it as the central thrust of his new agency. He mentioned in his 1907 manual for the Forest Service— The Use of the National Forest— that “ stores, hotels, and residences for recreation” belonged on the national forests because they contributed to “ getting the fullest use out of the land and its resources” ( Pinchot 1907: 13). 3 Pinchot’s successor as Chief Forester was Henry S. Graves, who was more concerned about forest recreation. He wrote in his 1913 Report of the Forester that recreation … is a highly important use of the Forests by the public, and it is recognized and facilitated by adjusting commercial use of the Forests, when necessary. Examples are the exclusion of stock and provisions in timber sales for very light cutting, or not cutting at all close to lakes and elsewhere where it is desirable to preserve the natural beauty of the location unmarred, for the enjoyment of the public. The most vociferous advocates of recreation on the forest reserves and the national forests, however, were the conservationists. They argued that the national forests should be used only for “ inspiration and our own true recreation,” and not for grazing, mining, timber, or any other commercial purpose. John Muir, John B. Waldo, and others reached a large audience with their writings, and these members of the recreation/ conservation movement influenced national policy. The newly- created Forest Service was caught between two powerful constituencies. The rural settlers and the lumber and grazing interests opposed the national forests because they saw the program as a threat to their resource base. The conservationists opposed any consumptive use of the forests. It is probably fair to say that forest recreation appealed to the leaders of the Forest Service for practical reasons as well as for its own merit. Recreation was a non- consumptive use that could bring urban Americans into the national forests and show them the benefits of Forest Service management. This could create a new constituency of supporters who could balance the rural people and the industrialists who opposed federal forest management. For urban Americans of moderate means, forest recreation was very appealing-- inexpensive, family oriented, and increasingly fashionable. In 1915, Congress passed legislation authorizing the Secretary of Agriculture to make land available on the national forests for recreational facilities including stores, resorts, and summer homes. The legislation specified that the permits were to be granted for a term not to exceed thirty years; consequently, the new law became popularly known as the Term Occupancy Act ( Tweed 1980: 3). 16 USC 497, March 4, 1915 The Secretary of Agriculture is authorized, under such regulations as he may make and upon such terms and conditions as he may deem proper, ( a) to permit the use and occupancy of suitable areas of land within the national forests, not exceeding eighty acres and for periods not exceeding thirty years, for the purpose of constructing or maintaining hotels, resorts, and any other structures or facilities necessary or desirable for recreation, public convenience, or safety; ( b) to permit the use and occupancy of suitable areas of land within the national forests, not 4 exceeding five acres and for periods not exceeding thirty years, for the purpose of constructing or maintaining summer homes and stores; ( c) to permit the use and occupancy of suitable areas of land within the national forest, not exceeding eighty acres and for periods not exceeding thirty years, for the purpose of constructing or maintaining buildings, structures, and facilities for industrial or commercial purposes whenever such use is related to or consistent with other uses on the national forests People had built private cabins and lodges at lakes and hot springs on the national forests before the Term Occupancy Act, but they had no guarantee that their annual permits would remain in effect for longer than the year they were issued. The new law guaranteed that the cabins, camps, and lodges would have tenure on the national forest lands for at least their thirty year term ( Lux et al 2003: 27). This encouraged more substantial investment. After the passage of the Term Occupancy Act, the Forest Service actively promoted recreational development by choosing locations for recreational facilities and surveying the permit lands. Persons or organizations wishing to erect private residences or summer camps, hotels, or other resorts could obtain permits for minimal fees, but the locations and lot sizes were established by the Forest Service. The Forest Service encouraged construction of cabins, resorts, and lodges on many scenic mountain lakes. Typically, facilities included a lodge and some guest cabins, a store, and private cabin tracts ( Throop 2005: 32). Outdoor recreation was increasingly popular throughout the U. S. In the year after the passage of the Term Occupancy Act— 1916— Congress created the National Park Service within the Department of the Interior to manage the parks that were growing in popularity and becoming national oases for recreation. During the 1920s and early 1930s, the Forest Service continued to promote recreation residences. With the onset of the Depression, and under the New Deal program, Forest recreation policy shifted its emphasis from recreation residences to campgrounds for the motoring public. Forest managers who had formerly promoted recreation residences were now building campgrounds, picnic areas, trails, roads, and other automobile- based facilities ( Lux et al 2003: 35). As the decade wound down, the Forest Service began to phase out the policy of term occupancy permits. Although tract development and permit issuances continued in the 1930s, there was a philosophical change in recreation management to developing public facilities ( Lux et al 2003: 35). At the same time, funding to support the thousands of Civilian Conservation Corp enrollees greatly expanded the Forest Service recreation program. Throughout Region 6, the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed roads, trails, picnic areas, campgrounds, as well as administrative facilities ( Atwood et al 2005: 32). 5 In 1939, Oregon’s national forests had 966 active summer home permits in total, which was the high- water mark for the program. World War II interrupted construction on cabin tracts lands, and also interrupted summer excursions because of gasoline rationing. There was a resurgence of cabin building after the war; then, in 1966 the Forest Service stopped issuing special use permits for new cabins lots. Recreation on the Deschutes National Forest In the early 1910s, the Deschutes National Forest began a recreation program by issuing permits to resorts, establishing campgrounds, and issuing a few permits for recreational cabins. In 1913, the first Deschutes National Forest resort special use permit was issued to Fred Shintaffer for the East Lake Resort. Early permit- holders had no guarantee of their continued use of the lands. After 1915, the Term Occupancy Act guaranteed permit holders up to 30 years of occupancy. Resorts were operating under special use permit at Odell Lake, Elk Lake, Suttle Lake, and Camp Sherman by 1920. Additional resorts on the Deschutes National Forest were added at Crescent, Paulina, South Twin and Odell Lakes in the 1920s. A 1920s Forest Management Plan identified four major recreation areas on the Deschutes National Forest: Suttle Lake- Camp Sherman, present Cascades Lakes Highway area, Newberry Crater, and the Crescent- Odell complex. In 1916, the Deschutes issued the first permits for recreational cabins on the Metolius River. These were followed by permits for cabins at Elk Lake, Odell Lake, and Paulina Lake. The cabins at Camp Sherman, like other National Forest cabins, are privately owned structures built on parcels of National Forest land. Under the provisions of the 1915 Term Occupancy Act, lots are made available to cabin owners, whose tenure is renewable in periods of 10 to 20 years. The Forest Service conducted cabin lot surveys for the five tracts ( C, E, F, H, I, O) between 1922 and 1944 ( Tonsfeldt 2007). Lots identified in the five tracts total 108; all but one ( O- 14) are occupied. History of Camp Sherman The Head of the Metolius River, the five- mile long section extending from Metolius Springs to its confluence with Canyon Creek, was an important salmon fishing area for native groups. The original name of the river, “ Mpto- ly- as,” means “ white fish” or “ decaying fish,” likely referred to fungus- covered salmon ( McArthur 1992: 448). Early Euro- American trappers and explorers probably visited the headwaters of the Metolius. Hudson’s Bay Co. trappers, including Finan McDonald and Joseph Gervais, crossed the Cascades from the North Santiam River in 1825. The following year, Peter Skene Odgen traversed south of Sisters, passed Black Butte ( which Ogden called “ McKay’s Nole”), and then traveled by Suttle Lake before setting up camp. Ogden noted 6 in his journals, July 12, 1826: “ We have now crossed the Mountains, and I have to observe that with little labour— a fine road … might be made…” ( Hatton 1996: 81). The earliest recorded visit to Metolius Valley was by members of an exploring party looking for a suitable route over the Cascades via Santiam Pass that would link the Willamette Valley to eastern Oregon. In 1859, Andrew Wiley, John Brandenburg, John Gray, and Harvey Wiley set out from Sweet Home seeking gold, adventure, and a route across the Cascades. In his letter to the Oregon Democrat, January 10, 1860, Gray describes the return trip and the Metolius Valley: We took a general course for Butte Lake, aiming to pass on the other side of the butte from the lake, but after descending a long slope westward we entered a most beautiful valley, and crossed a clear, quiet stream some one hundred feet wide and about eighteen or twenty inches deep. Here we camped. Some three hundred yards from camp we discovered two springs flowing from underneath the mountain, which furnished all the water of the pleasant little river flowing at our feet. ( Hatton 1996: 153- 154) Although they found no gold, they were among the first to praise the scenery of the Metolius and surrounding Cascades. We found no gold…. But … we found our trip the most healthful and invigorating to our bodies. We would therefore say to every invalid in Oregon, instead of converting your stomach to an apothecary shop, secure a pleasant companion or two, mount a good pony, and take to the mountains, scale their lofty heights; drink from their pure fountains, and breath the balmy air and you will return restored and strong. ( Oregon Democrat, January 10, 1860; cited in Hatton 1996: 82) The adventurers also reported that the route over Santiam Pass would make a good wagon road. As early as 1845, settlers in the Willamette Valley had sought a new route over Santiam Pass that would shorten the long route used by immigrants along the Columbia River. Settlers in the 1860s also wanted a road to grazing lands on the east side of the Cascades and gold seekers wanted a shorter route to the newly discovered gold fields of eastern Oregon. In 1864, the cattle ranchers organized the Willamette Valley and Cascade Mountain Wagon Road Company. The road was projected to extend from Linn County, over Santiam Pass, to eastern Oregon and was primarily designed to allow stock to reach the rich grazing lands east of the Cascades. Running out of money after constructing a short section to Deer Creek, they petitioned the federal government and in 1866 were granted land, three sections of land on both sides of the road for every mile finished, to finance the construction - ( Clark 1987). They were also given the right to charge toll. 7 The Oregonian, October 18, 1865, reported that the road was open for wagons as far as the Deschutes River. By 1868, the road was completed to the Snake River near Ontario, Oregon. Nielsen ( 1985: 75) estimated that between 1865 and 1881, about 5000 wagons used the road. The Santiam Wagon Road also opened the Metolius Valley to settlers. One of the more famous was the David W. Allingham family who filed a homestead in the upper Metolius Valley in 1885. Cattle and horses were driven over the Cascades to the Allingham Ranch from the Willamette Valley. In 1890, he sold the ranch to a Mr. Alley, who reconveyed the title of the land to the federal government. The house that Allingham built in 1890 later became part of the Allingham Guard Station. In 1906, the Forest Service established a ranger station at the site, with Perry A. Smith as its first ranger ( Hatton 1996: 176- 177). By the early 1900s, the fishing and scenery of the Metolius Valley increasingly attracted visitors to the area. Before the Term Occupancy Act and the availability of national forest cabin sites, recreation enthusiasts bought private land in the Metolius Basin for summer cabins and rustic retreats. Stephen Dow Beckham points out that the Metolius appealed to some members of Oregon’s intellectual and financial elite. Erskine S. Wood, J. A. Zehntbauer, Henry L. Corbett, and other Portland notables build summer places on the river ( Oetting 1992: 40). Another group, made up of wheat farmers from Sherman County also enjoyed the Metolius, arriving en masse each August after harvest. They were eager to escape the Sherman County summer temperatures, and perhaps the sight of endless wheat fields. This group called their summer rendezvous “ Camp Sherman” and the name stuck ( Oetting 1992: 40; Heising 1957: 221). Recreation Residences In 1916, Martin Hansen, who had lived on a farm in Sherman County, built a summer cabin on the Metolius and initially used the meadow for sheep. As the Metolius became increasingly popular with recreationists, he went into the tourist business and established a primitive resort at Camp Sherman in 1921, initially using tent cabins on platforms. In 1924, he built better cabins, dammed up Lake Creek to create a swimming hole, and constructed a lodge with dining room. The resort was especially popular with residents of Sherman County ( Moore 1988: 11). In 1935, the resort was sold and a new lodge and cabins were built. This became the present Lake Creek Lodge ( Hatton 1996: 189- 191). Summer cabins have been part of the cultural landscape in Camp Sherman since 1916. After the Bend Bulletin featured a story on August 2, 1916 relating the government’s offer to open many beauty spots for summer homes, the Deschutes National Forest received over 100 requests for information. Most of the inquiries came 8 from Oregon, but some came from as far away as Wyoming and Montana ( Hatton 1996: 178; Metolius Recreation Association n. d.). In 1916, encouraged by the numerous inquiries about permits for summer homes, W. G. Hastings of the Forest Service surveyed lots at East Lake, Paulina Lake, Odell Lake, Crescent Lake, and along the Metolius River. The lots were offered at between $ 5 and $ 15 for a year's permit. The only strict requirement was that the ( summer) Luther Metke (1885-1985), designer and builder of cabin C-1, was a wellregarded contractor and log builder in Central Oregon from the 1910s through the 1980s. The oral tradition and the scanty documents available establish that he was active in Crook, Deschutes, and Jefferson counties mainly as a road contractor, surveyor, and cabin builder. Metke gave an interview to a Bend Bulletin reporter in 1975 which provides the most complete and credible source of information about his long and eventful life (Bend Bulletin, Oct. 21, 1975: p. 19). He was at various times employed as trapper, contract logger, wildfire fighter, Forest Service crew foreman, Civilian Conservation Corps foreman (or LEM), bridge builder, surveyor, and owner of the Camp Sherman Store. Source quoted: This document.