Favorite New Deal Site: A Work of Art, Timberline Lodge, Oregon

A Work of Art
Timberline Lodge, Oregon

Vintage Postcard

More than a mile above sea level, Timberline Lodge, about an hour’s drive east of Portland, embodies the New Deal’s aim to make life itself a work of art by wrapping visitors in it. A symphony of craftspeople and artists employed by the WPA rushed the completion of the lodge so that President Roosevelt could dedicate it on September 28, 1937. Eleanor Roosevelt said at the time that she hoped it would become a “permanent arts and crafts center.” Portland interior designer Margery Hoffman Smith downplayed her own role, saying that “Every workman on the job was thrilled by his work because he felt that his creative skill was becoming an integral part in a very significant whole.”  

It is a shrine as much as a lodge for skiers and hikers nearly ninety years on. As a fan of the Craftsman Movement, a visit to Timberline always uplifts me as much by its artistic integrity and the evidence everywhere of the hands that crafted it as by the views from and to the volcanic peak of Mt Hood behind it.

The Lodge is featured at minute 17.50

Learn more: Timberline Lodge: The History, Art, and Craft of an American Icon, by Sarah Baker (Arcadia Publishing, 201 6). Monro. 

— Gray Brechin


Tell us about your Favorite New Deal site. Send us a first-person story of 100 (or so) words describing the site and why you chose it. Submissions will appear in future issues of The Fireside! Be sure to include a photo (with photo credit). Send to: [email protected]. Thanks!
Gray Brechin is a geographer and Project Scholar of the Living New Deal. He is the author of Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin.