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Constructing Rim Road around Crater Lake a massive challenge

Photo courtesy of Jackson County Library Services An early vehicle travels around Crater Lake on Rim Road.

Historian Steve Mark will share an epic tale about the perils and challenges of early road construction during his talk about the building of Rim Road around Crater Lake.

His Windows in Time lecture “A ‘Skyline Boulevard’ for Crater Lake: The Army Corps of Engineers and Building Rim Road, 1910-1920” is from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 2. He’ll give his free talk via the videoconference service Zoom. Registration is required.

Rim Road is part of a road system built more than a century ago for the newly established Crater Lake National Park, and is the subject of a historic district recently listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The road was the first circuit for vehicles around the rim. It remains surprisingly intact, despite being displaced by Rim Drive just before the onset of World War II.

The Army Corps of Engineers took on the project when a state highway system for Oregon was still in the future.

The Corps is better known for its dams. Building a road system for Crater Lake National Park represents one of the Corps' few forays into road construction in the western United States. It left a lasting imprint at the park and on the newly created National Park Service, with some surprising twists that will be revealed during Mark’s Zoom presentation.

Mark has worked for the National Park Service for more than three decades, most of that time as a historian stationed at Crater Lake.

In 2019, he was the lead author for a nomination that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and called the "Army Corps of Engineers Road System Historic District." The nomination involved extensive research, much of it at the National Archives branch in Seattle, and a multi-year archaeological survey conducted by a small team of National Park Service employees.

To register for the presentation, visit jcls.libcal.com/calendar/jcls_event/WIT-Feb-2022.

A recording of the program will be posted later on the Jackson County Library Services YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/c/JCLSBeyond.

The monthly Windows in Time lunchtime lectures feature writers and historians who bring alive the people, values and events that shaped Southern Oregon’s heritage. Lectures are jointly sponsored by the Southern Oregon Historical Society and Jackson County Library Services.

For more information, contact the Southern Oregon Historical Society at 541-773-6536 or www.sohs.org/ or Jackson County Library Services at 541-774-8679 or jcls.org/.