© 2023 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Road Opens between Diamond and Crater lakes in 1921


Only a horse trail connected Diamond Lake and Crater Lake National Park in 1921.  That was before the superintendent of the park, Alex Sparrow, invited the vice president of the Southern Pacific Railroad, E.O. McCormick, to ride the trail.  Their ride convinced them it was time to build a motor car road between the lakes.

After park rangers blazed a trail, cutting down small trees that got in the way, McCormick got George Collins of Medford to drive them in his Peerless car on the first automobile trip on the shortcut joining the two lakes.

Starting on Sept. 2 from Crater Lake’s North Rim Road, the men headed in the Peerless across the pumice desert and followed the rangers’ blazes.  They only stopped a couple of times to clear some brush.  McCormack was so impressed by the fishing, camping and scenery that he agreed to have Southern Pacific promote both lakes in its advertising.

Three days later, Jean Steel and her friend Miss Humphrey, accompanied by Will Steel, became the first women to drive from Crater Lake to Diamond Lake on the new cutoff.

The shortcut would become the north entrance to Crater Lake National Park.


Sources: "Record Motor Trip Made to Diamond Lake." Medford Mail Tribune 3 Sept. 1921: 6. Print.  "Miss Steel Drives Car from Crater to Diamond Lake." Medford Mail Tribune 6 Sept. 1921: 3. Print.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.