September 2, 2017

Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood, Oregon - Page 3


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We have now entered the Timberline Lodge and are standing in the lower lobby, looking back at the doors we just entered through. Look at the size of the beams holding up the floor above us!  Huge saw (or axe) cut and surfaced wood posts and beams are a significant part of the lodge's architectural style.  The horizontal beams are almost always larger in size than the vertical posts. This is one of the significant differences between Timberline and the standard Rustic Style Architecture found in many National Park lodges, where the beams and posts would most likely be minimally surfaced logs, often still with bark on them. While there are a few round log-shaped posts at Timberline, they are surfaced or even carved so as not to look like a log straight out of the forest.  My belief is this is an intentional nod to the northwest logging heritage (but I can't prove it.)
Notice the large compass on the floor which indicates the directional alignment of the lodge, with the Head House main doors aligned with the north/south axis (we're looking toward the south.) The compass is the work of Pete Ferrarin and made from brass. The red tile was added in 1979 when the compass was restored. On the left you can just barely see the base of the staircase up to the 1st floor.  The drinking fountain and mural shown in the next photo are on the right.

This tile mosaic called "Spring on the Mountain" is just inside the ground floor doors of the Lodge. It is sometimes called the "drinking fountain mural". It features local plants and animals found in the area and it was designed by Tom Laman and Virginia Darce. Timberline Lodge is filled with original art work that was commissioned specifically for this building. I'll show you a few that are typical as we go through the virtual tour. In many ways Timberline is as much a museum (it even has a curator on staff) as it is a hotel. While most of the artwork dates to the building of the lodge, this is a continuing collection with new pieces that fit with the Pacific Northwest theme being added when appropriate and available.

Just around the corner from the Mosaic is the current location of the front desk for the lodge. Originally the front desk was one floor up on the 1st floor, since that is where the main front door of the Lodge is. However, as most guests enter through the lower doors it didn't make much sense to have the front desk upstairs.  So the front desk was relocated to the ground floor when the ski facilities were relocated to a new ski lodge that was built across the street. Notice the light fixture made to look like an oxen yoke and the massive iron rings that hold it. The yoke is a nod to the early days of logging in the northwest when teams of oxen were used to pull cut logs off of the steep mountain sides.

To the left of the lower lobby this arched doorway leads to the west wing and the stairs up to the guest rooms. This is a good time to look at the "Timberline Arch", a classic feature of this Lodge. The Timberline arch is a arch with a flattened top on it. Variations of it occur throughout the Timberline Lodge, look for them in the photos. Notice the size of the wood posts and beams and look closely at the center of the beam over the doorway.  Again, the horizontal beams are larger than the vertical posts making the doorways seem lower than they are.  Although a little hard to see in the photos, each beam over a doorway in the Head House has a different geometric design carved in the center of it (look just to the left of the exit sign.) Also take a close look at the Timberline Arches in this and the next photo. They seem alike at first glance and many people likely never notice otherwise. But if you look closer you will notice that the upright posts on the sides of each doorway, as well as the beams over the doorway, are each slightly different from the others. In fact, you will see very few duplicates of major architectural features in this lodge, each is intentionally unique!

Most of the former ground floor level of the Head House is now taken up by the Rachel Griffin Historic Exhibition Center, a free museum. There are additional exhibits in the adjacent hallways so be sure to walk around. The chairs in this photo are wrought iron and wood, with rawhide straps for seats. The rawhide has been replaced, but otherwise they are the original furniture hand-made for the Lodge. A non-profit group called Friends of Timberline supports the Lodge and provides funding (and sometimes the labor) to restore, replace and preserve the Lodge and its treasures.


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