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For this special Wednesday segment, I spoke with Sue Densmore, executive director of the Friends of the Oregon Caves and Chateau. To see my previous posts on this park, please click Oregon Caves/Cave Tour and Chateau/Nature Trail.
As mentioned in my previous posts, we’d really enjoyed our visit to this off-the-beaten-path gem of the National Park Service and hope to someday return for a peaceful stay in the lodge. I know that most of my readers are supporters of the NPS and its mission to preserve our nation’s natural wonders and historic legacy. I hope that you will find this information to be of interest.
As the NPS begins a much-needed overhaul of the 83-year-old Chateau, the federal funds allotted will only provide for functional improvements which have been deferred for 15 years. The Friends group is trying to raise additional funds to allow for the historic restoration work to be done during the same closure and avoid closing down the lodge for two seasons in a row. The Chateau closed on September 30th, 2018 and will not re-open until the renovation is complete.
The Friends of the Oregon Caves and Chateau, a non-profit organization formed in cooperation with the National Park Service began the Chateau Restoration Campaign in 2012. The Chateau made the Restore Oregon’s Most Endangered Places list in 2016 and 2017 due to the long delay in obtaining federal funding for repairs.
When I asked Sue what the Friends’ immediate priorities were, she responded,
“We are struggling with saving the Historic items today. We have one month with this concession – so they are clearing out the inventory (refers to the vintage 1930s counter and bar stools in the Caves Cafè.) So we are focused on that – needing to quickly raise a lot of money.
Once this is resolved – we will also need to raise $100,000 to match the Travel Oregon Grant to do the Historic Furnishings Plan and restore the Monterey Furniture.”
To donate to Friends of the Oregon Caves and Chateau please click here. Donations are processed through the Network for Good and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Built in 1934, the Chateau has six stories, four of which have ground level entrances because of the steep hill it is built into. A stream was diverted to run through the main dining room and the building houses the largest collection of original Monterey furniture in the world. It became a National Historic Landmark in 1987.
Location: 19000 Caves Hwy, Cave Junction, OR 97523
Designation: National Historic Landmark
Date designated or established: 1987
Date of my visit: August 2016