Timberline Lodge

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This article is about the actual Timberline Lodge structure. For the ski area, see Timberline Lodge ski area.
Timberline Lodge
Timberline Lodge in the summer
Nearest city Government Camp, Oregon
Coordinates 45°19′52″N 121°42′36″W / 45.33111°N 121.71000°W / 45.33111; -121.71000Coordinates: 45°19′52″N 121°42′36″W / 45.33111°N 121.71000°W / 45.33111; -121.71000
Built 1935
Architect Turner,W.I.; Et al.
Architectural style Other
Governing body U.S. Forest Service
NRHP Reference # 73001572[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP November 12, 1973
Designated NHL December 22, 1977[2]
Timberline Lodge and Mount Hood, winter of 1942–43. The Lodge was closed that year because of wartime conditions.

Timberline Lodge is a mountain lodge on the south side of Mount Hood in Oregon, about 60 miles (97 km) east of Portland.

Built in the late 1930s, the National Historic Landmark sits at an elevation of 5,960 feet (1,817 m), within the Mount Hood National Forest and is accessible through the Mount Hood Scenic Byway.[3] It is a popular tourist attraction, drawing more than a million visitors annually.[4] It is noted in film for serving as the exterior of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining.


The lodge was constructed between 1936 and 1938 as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project during the Great Depression. Workers used large timbers and local stone, and placed intricately carved decorative elements throughout the building.[5]

President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Lodge on September 28, 1937. In his remarks, he commented on the reasons for the project:

"This Timberline Lodge marks a venture that was made possible by W.P.A., 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."[6]

The dedication ceremony was five months before completion of the lodge interior February 1938, when it opened to the public. It took extra expense and effort to make the lodge appear presentable for the dedication.[5]

Ski area[edit]

Timberline logo

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. Today, the lodge and its grounds are host to 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 every month of the year. Activities include skiing, snowboarding, walking, hiking and climbing.

Decline and recovery[edit]

The swimming pool at Timberline Lodge
A view of Mount Hood from the Timberline Lodge parking lot

Lifestyles Northwest published a story about the history of Timberline Lodge in its February 2005 issue, based heavily on interviews with the family who have operated the lodge for fifty years.[7] The story noted that in the lodge's early years, it had had four different operators, none of which was willing or able to maintain it. By 1955 Timberline Lodge was closed and in disrepair.

Richard Kohnstamm, the patriarch of the family that currently operates it, remembered those difficulties as being due to financing problems arising from the fact that the government owned it. Kohnstamm decided to maintain the place as if he owned it himself; he lost money during his first five years of operation, but his timing turned out to be fortuitous, since he began operating it only a few years before skiing started exploding in popularity in the late 1950s. That popularity helped the family generate a profit starting in 1960. Kohnstamm, "the man who saved Timberline",[8] died at the age of 80 on April 21, 2006. Kohnstamm's son Jeff is now the Area Operator of Timberline Lodge.

Film history[edit]

Cashier's window on the main floor
Arch on the bottom floor
Stairway with carved post
The interior of the lodge features extensive woodwork

The 1941 short musical film, Jingle Belles is set at the lodge.

The 1952 film Bend of the River starring James Stewart, Arthur Kennedy, Julie Adams, and Rock Hudson was partially filmed on the snow above Timberline Lodge, near the Magic Mile chairlift.[9][10]

The 1960 film All the Young Men, starring Alan Ladd and Sidney Poitier, had some snow scenes filmed at Timberline.[9][10]

The 1973 version of Lost Horizon, starring Liv Ullman, Michael York, Peter Finch, Sally Kellerman, John Gielgud and Olivia Hussey had portions shot in the Timberline parking lot. Blizzard conditions needed in the film were created by a helicopter. Other scenes were shot in the immediate area while the lodge was a base for the cast and crew.[5]

The 1980 movie The Shining used aerial shots of the Timberline Lodge as part of its opening scene, and exterior footage for some establishing shots of the fictional Overlook Hotel throughout the movie. The movie was based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, which King was inspired to write while at The Stanley Hotel in Colorado.[11] Several of the exterior shots in the film which purport to show the lodge, such as those of the hedge maze and loading dock, were taken at Elstree Studios in England, using a mock-up of the south face of the lodge. There is no hedge maze (and hardly any level ground) at the Timberline Lodge. All interior scenes were shot at Elstree Studios as well, and do not depict the interior of the Timberline Lodge.[5]

In 1981, Boris Sagal was directing the TV movie World War III starring Rock Hudson. During filming, Sagal was killed in Timberline Lodge's parking lot when he walked into the tail rotor blades of a helicopter, almost decapitating him.[12]

The 1993 film Hear No Evil was partly filmed at Timberline.[9]


  1. ^ Staff (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ "Listing of National Historic Landmarks by State: Oregon" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved June 29, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Mt. Hood Scenic Byway". National Scenic Byways Program. Retrieved 2009-12-23. 
  4. ^ Doyle, Brian (November 2003). "A Place in the Clouds". Via Magazine. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  5. ^ a b c d Catherine Gleason, editor (1987). Timberline Lodge: A Love Story. Arts Center Publishing Company, Portland, Oregon (and) Friends of Timberline, Government Camp, Oregon. ISBN 0-932575-24-2. 
  6. ^ "Works of Franklin D. Roosevelt: Address at Timberline Lodge". New Deal Network. September 28, 1937. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  7. ^ Nafsinger, Janie (February 21, 2005). "The man who rescued Timberline Lodge". Lifestyles Northwest. Archived from the original on 2005-12-19. Retrieved 2005-12-19. 
  8. ^ The Oregonian April 25, 2006
  9. ^ a b c "Feature Films and Made for TV Movies Made in Oregon". Asia-Pacific Productions. 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-15. 
  10. ^ a b Andersen, Vicki (2006). "Historic Ski Lodge Evokes Memories". RV Life. Retrieved 2006-09-15. 
  11. ^ "Shining, The". StephenKing.com. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  12. ^ Accident kills TV producer

External links[edit]