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Mail Tribune 100, Aug. 30, 1921

The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago

Aug. 30, 1921


Anne Shannon Moore, the Oregon authoress contributes an article to the last Sunday issue of the Portland Oregonian, on the “Mystery Lady of the Woods,” known locally as the “Petrified Lady,” and discovers that this attraction of Crater Lake, was chiseled by the hands of man.

Telling of a microscopic search of the “Lady,” the authoress says:

“On the main boulder out of which the figure is cut, and just in front of the foreleg, we found what looked like a date — “1843.” The “one” was clearly discerned, the “four” and the “three,” the latter two being cut in old style figures, and as plain as print. The “eight” was more a matter of conjecture, parts not being perfect, but the space was there for the extra figure, and the curves more nearly suggested and “eight” than anything else. Continuing our search, we found the letters “M. A. Y.” repeated twice, irregularly on the stone, and that was all.”

The above facts heretofore unnoticed or unpublished in the many accounts. Neither Will Steel, the father of Crater Lake, no Alex Sparrow, park superintendent, had ever discovered the markings though they were frequent visitors.

The sculpture is perfect in every detail, and was chiseled by a genius, with every proportion of the figure correct. And continuing the article says:

“Finest achievement of all is the expression of the entire dropped figure, that of utter despair. All this in that hard, rough stone — so hard and uninviting that so far, thank God! no vandal has been tempted to leave trace of his presence. The figure is here — superb, glorious — in the still dark woods alone with the great old trees, the flowers and the birds.

Is it Mary at the tomb? Does it commemorate the death of some loved person? Is a body buried back of that pointing arrow? Did some noted sculptor express anguish of his own in the granite of the grim gray hills? These are questions no one has been able to answer.”

In regard to the origin of the statue the authoress concludes:

“If a sculptor of note has been in the woods long enough to have done this remarkable piece of chiseling in recent years, no one in the vicinity seems to have heard about it. If the date —1843— is the year in which it was made, then its history is more deeply shrouded in mystery than ever.”


The special session of the grand jury called for next Thursday has been called off because of the illness of one of the jurors, and there will probably be no meeting of the grand jury until its regular session in about a month.

— Alissa Corman; acorman@rosebudmedia.com