Wallowa Lake Lodge (all photos by me)
Our vacation reconnected my wife to a place resonant with childhood memories, one within which she delighted during breaks away from school in Bend. It provided me with a relaxing respite untethered from electronic connections back to my work in Eugene. Rather than stay at the family ranch, we chose lodgings at the historic Wallowa Lake Lodge, a short drive away, situated at the south end of the lake and near the trailhead into the magnificent Eagle Cap Wilderness.
Wallowa Lake Lodge
The Wallowa Lake Lodge is not the product of academy-trained architects; instead, the straightforward design is the handiwork of builders James Amey, his son Clyde, and J.Ross Leslie (for the original 1923 building), and later W.C. Kelly (for the later 1926 addition). Regardless, the lodge betrays the builders’ good instincts through its placement, simple forms, and respect for the spirit of the place. The care for and attention to details is clear. The exterior is enlivened by the horizontal, vertical, and diagonal patterning of board & batten siding. Inside, the lodge is warmed by exposed wood paneling, Arts & Crafts detailing, and antique furnishings.
Lobby, Wallowa Lake Lodge
Relaxing on the deck of our cabin, Wallowa Lake Lodge
Author Christine Barnes published several copiously illustrated books showcasing the National Park lodges, of which I own two volumes. The books in turn spawned the PBS-produced Great Lodges of the National Parks television series in 2002, for which Barnes served as a consultant. The books and TV series glowingly featured the famous lodges but showcased several lesser-known examples too, including the Wallowa Lake Lodge. Of the many documented by Barnes, my wife and I have also previously vacationed at the Lake Quinault Lodge in Olympic National Park and Timberline Lodge. Despite including “. . .of the National Parks” in her titles, both Timberline Lodge and the Wallowa Lake Lodge are not U.S. National Park Service properties; the Lake Quinault Lodge(1) is located within Olympic National Park in Washington state.
Lake Quinault Lodge
Interior beam detail, Lake Quinault Lodge
Cupola, Lake Quinault Lodge
(1) Architect Robert C. Reamer designed the Lake Quinault Lodge. Reamer is best known for designing Yellowstone Park’s Old Faithful Inn.