In addition to the Chateau, Oregon Caves National Monument has some fine examples of CCC built landscape, as well as three more historic buildings grouped around the cave entrance in Oregon Caves National Monument. These form a designated historic district. The buildings are The Chalet building (1942, park visitor center, housing, offices), The Chateau (1934, the Guest Lodging and Restaurant building), The Ranger Residence (1936?), and the old Guide's Dormitory (1927, with major additions in 1940 & 1972, it is now vacant due to safety issues.) Plus there are the caves, but you can find lots of pictures of them elsewhere.
Oregon Caves Landscape
Most of the landscape at Oregon Caves National Monument was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corp between 1934 and 1943. Materials used were either from the park, or selected to appear to be from the park. This creates a harmony between the constructed landscape and the surrounding natural features.
NPS-Rustic StyleThe style of landscape architecture used here at Oregon Caves is commonly referred to as "NPS-Rustic". (NPS means National Park Service.) Keep in mind that contrary to most people's beliefs, landscape architecture is more than plant selection and placement. Particularly when used by the NPS, landscape architecture incorporates all aspects of the visual landscape, including the placement of all man-built structures in relationship to the natural surroundings. So the NPS-Rustic landscape architecture style includes building exterior appearance, road layout and design, bridges, walls, walkways, and plant selection and placement. Within the park service a landscape architect is often the lead designer of the human use facilities of a park, determining where everything man-made in a park will be located and what it will look like. This is not meant to undercut the contributions of architects and engineers. Architects and engineers work closely with the landscape architect, often providing a "reality check" as to what is possible, and fleshing out the details. It is a closely coordinated team effort.
The NPS-Rustic style of landscape is defined by: Intensive use of hand labor to construct structures. The almost total rejection of regularity and symmetry in design. The extensive if not exclusive use of building materials that are native to the area. The idea of the NPS-Rustic style is to create man-made features that blend into, and become part of the natural environment. Look at the photos on this page and notice how few straight lines there are. Walls, walkways and roads have curving edges. This is based on the theory that "nature abhors a straight line". This is somewhat of a misstatement, abundant examples of straight lines do exist in nature. Even so, the minimal use of straight lines creates a appearance that is relaxing and very pleasing to the eye.
A log railing defines the edge of this heavily traveled trail and discourages people from creating short-cut trails down the adjacent steep slope. Note the rock lined culvert to direct water down the slope from the road in the background.
The NPS-Rustic Style was first developed in the early 1900's by the US National Park Service. By 1935 it had been formally defined and set forth in a book called Park Structures and Facilities. Since most of the work at Oregon Caves was constructed at about the same time the book was released, the landscape here is a good example of the fully developed style. The book was replaced in 1938 with a new book called Park and Recreation Structures. Today this same book is published under the name Patterns from the Golden Age of Rustic Design.
Steep paths that are to be accessible to the disabled are required to have a hand rail that can be easily grasped. Since the top log of this rail is too large to grasp, a second smaller rail has been added for that purpose.
Stone steps. It's a bit hard to see in the photos but if you look close you can see that the steps are placed as if they were natural, and are not installed at perfect right angles to the trail. An example of the avoidance of symmetry that is part of the NPS-Rustic design style.
The trail has been paved with flat rocks. This is common in areas where springs create muddy trails. Again, note the intentional effort to avoid anything being symmetric or aligned.
This simple, but cleverly designed, metal & wood swing is located adjacent to the Trout Pond to allow visitors a pleasant place to gently swing while relaxing next to the pond.
This photo is looking down from the road at the trout pond. You can see the swing shown in the photo above at the lower right.
The trout pond was stocked with trout for many years. The park service no longer places trout in the pond. The water fall was created by routing cave creek through a culvert under the road. The water flows out of the cave further up the hill.
This is the upper waterfall above the road. The cave entrance is directly above the waterfall. The lower wall on the left is a patio. From the small pond at the base of the waterfall the water runs under the road and then drops over the larger waterfall into the Trout Pond. All of this is constructed, these aren't natural waterfalls.
Another view of the upper waterfall with the Chalet (Visitor Center) in the background. Inside the cave the water flow is called the "River Styx," after it exits the cave it becomes "Cave Creek."
One of the drain inlets (there are several) for the underground culverts that route the creek overflow water under the Chalet and Chateau.
The Oregon Caves Chalet
The current Chalet building was built in 1942, it replaced the previous Chalet building that stood on the same spot. It was designed and built by Gust Lium, a local contractor.
Oregon Caves Chalet.
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