Lake Crescent, WA

History Around Lake Crescent

Clallam County, Washington

By Andrew Craig Magnuson

Lake Crescent, WA
This scene of Lake Crescent from Mount Storm King, was photographed in about 1916 or 1917. Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern, which was built mostly between 1914 and 1916, can be seen at the bottom center of the photograph. The Spruce Railroad, built in 1918, was not yet built along the north lakeshore when this scene was photographed.

Log Cabin Hotel
The Log Hotel, also known as the Log Cabin Hotel or Hotel Piedmont, was the first hotel built on the shores of twelve-mile-long Lake Crescent. The hotel was built in 1895 at what was called Piedmont, where the road from Port Crescent, on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, reached the north shore of Lake Crescent. The rustic 2-story hotel was constructed of peeled cedar logs and had an impressive fireplace, large lounge, dining room, bedrooms on the second floor, and an attached observation tower, which was also constructed of logs. The historic Log Hotel burned down in 1932. In the early 1950's the present Log Cabin Resort was built at the site of the former Log Cabin Hotel.

Ovington's Resort This scene of Ovington's Resort was photographed sometime before 1920. Photographs from the 1940's show that by that time the resort looked quite different, from the scene above, with planted ornamental shrubs, and cabins nestled among larger Douglas-fir, western redcedar, and bigleaf maple. Ovington's Resort was a favorite destination among fishermen in search of Beardslee rainbow trout and Crescenti cutthroat trout, both of which are found only in Lake Crescent. Fish catches were recorded in Ovington’s “Proof Book”, beginning in 1905, and an old brochure for the resort states that “…it is no uncommon thing to record a 15 to 20 pound fighting Beardslee in this book”. Ovington's was located along the north shore of Lake Crescent, east of Cedar Point, in the vicinity of the present day North Shore picnic area. Edward J. Ovington or “Ned” and his wife Emily began the resort in 1905 and it quickly became one of the most popular resorts on the lake. Guests to Ovington's first arrived by boat, before the construction of the north shore road. One of the small ferryboats that transported passengers can be seen at the dock in this photograph. Ovington's consisted of twenty, rustic, log and wood frame constructed cottages, nestled about a main lodge. The main lodge or “guest house” had a living room with a big fireplace and an adjoining dining room, with a scenic view of the lake. An early photograph shows that originally the 1½ -story main lodge didn't have the 1-story dining room wing that is seen in later photographs. Between 1914 and 1942 a post office was also operated at Ovington's. In 1947 the U.S. government purchased Ovington's, and soon after leased the property to a concessionaire who renamed the resort Beardslee Bay Camp. The historic Ovington's resort no longer exists.

Marymere Hotel The Marymere Hotel was the first hotel built on the south shore of Lake Crescent. The Marymere Hotel was built in 1906 on Barnes Point, in the same general vicinity where the later Rosemary Inn was built. Barnes Point is located at the narrowest part of Lake Crescent, at the base of the western shoulder of Mount Storm King. The Barnes family originally started the Marymere Hotel, which was later run by Rose Saylor. The 1½ -story log and wood frame Marymere Hotel had a large five-sided bay window with a similarly shaped dormer above. The Marymere Hotel was located less than a mile north of Marymere Falls, a 90-foot waterfall on Falls Creek, a tributary to Barnes Creek. Guests to the Marymere Hotel arrived by boat, as the road along the south shore of Lake Crescent did not exist at the time the hotel was operated. The historic Marymere Hotel burned down around 1914.

Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern This scene of Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern was photographed by the early 1920's, from the side-wheeler ferry Storm King. Singer's Lake Crescent Tavern, which is now Lake Crescent Lodge, was built by Avery J. Singer and his wife Julia, along the south lakeshore, just east of the mouth of Barnes Creek, on Barnes Point. The 2½ -story wood frame building was built mostly between 1914 and 1915. An advertisement for Lake Crescent Tavern in the July, 1915 issue of Sunset Magazine announced “A brand new complete health and pleasure resort makes its initial bow to the public”. The building was designed with a comfortable lodge-style lobby, with a large stone fireplace. A long veranda running the length of the building, on the side facing the lake, was later enclosed with large mullioned divided-light windows having wooden muntins. The original dining room was once where the gift shop is now located. A row of wood frame constructed cottages and a row of temporary canvas and frame tent cabins were also constructed about the same time as the main building. Before the Olympic Highway was extended along the south shore of the lake, in 1922, guests were transported by ferryboat from the East Beach dock, which prior to the 1920's was the terminus of the road from Port Angeles. In 1927, the Singer's sold their property, which later changed ownership several more times before finally being sold again in 1951 to the National Park Service. Over the years, Lake Crescent Lodge has been added on to, and additional lodging accommodations have been added in the vicinity.

La Poel Camp, Lake Crescent, WA The La Poel Auto Camp or La Poel Resort began operation sometime after the Olympic Highway was completed along the south shore of Lake Crescent in 1922. The La Poel Resort was located on the west side of what is now the La Poel picnic and day use area, which at that time was operated as the La Poel Campground. During the winter of 1934 - 1935 Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) crews from the Snider CCC Camp constructed a log octogonal shaped cooking shelter on the east side of the La Poel Campground.

Hotel Fairholme, Lake Crescent, WA
This scene, photographed by about 1918, shows the Hotel Fairholme, which was located north of the Fairholm ferry landing at the west end of Lake Crescent. The Fairholm ferry landing was on the early automobile route to Forks, Washington and the west end of Clallam County, before the road along the south shore of Lake Crescent was completed in 1922.

Arcadia Resort, Lake Crescent, WA
This scene, photographed by the early 1950s, shows the entrance to the Arcadia Resort on the north shore of Lake Crescent. The Arcadia Resort was started by Julius H. Petersen, probably by about 1920 or slightly earlier. Julius H. Petersen was born in Denmark in 1874. He came to the United States in 1893 and to Lake Crescent in 1906. The Arcadia Resort was later operated by John A. Foss by the early 1950's. The resort was located about 1¾ miles up the North Shore Road, from the turn off on U.S. 101 at Fairholm. The small sign hanging on the left side of the entrance indicates that the resort was a member of the Olympic Peninsula Resort & Hotel Association, now the Olympic Peninsula Travel Association. The Arcadia Resort existed through at least the late 1950's and consisted of at least about a dozen cabins. In the mid 1950's, the rate for the cabins started at $4.50 per day. The resort had boats available for guests and a small store, which sold fishing and general supplies. The name Arcadia harkens back to simpler olden days of yore and implies that the resort was a simple, rustic, restful place. A couple other resorts off the North Shore Road were Sunnybank Resort at 2.9 miles and Bonnie Brae Resort at 3.1 miles

Spruce Railroad The Spruce Production Division Railroad No. 1 was constructed in 1918 along the north side of Lake Crescent by government contract and by U.S. Army spruce squadrons, from the Spruce Production Division of the U.S. Army Signal Corps. The railroad was constructed for the transport of Sitka spruce logs to be milled for the manufacture of wood-frame World War I airplanes. This scene was photographed during construction, just across the lake from Barnes Point. The tracks seen in this photograph are only temporary tracks installed for doing the construction work, rather than the actual installed railroad tracks. During the construction of the railroad, considerable blasting was done along the steep and rocky north side of the lake. A few weeks before the railroad was completed, the war ended, and not a single log was hauled for the wartime effort. The railroad was later operated as the Port Angeles Western Railroad from 1925 to 1951, before being formally abandoned in 1953. Part of the historical railroad grade is now the Spruce Railroad Trail, and the planned future route of the western extension of the Olympic Discovery Trail.


Home Andrew Craig Magnuson
Forks, Washington
July 1, 2004