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As It Was: Restored Hotel Never Returns to Former Glory

In 1916, more than 200 Rogue Valley, Ore., residents motored 30 miles on Hwy 62 from Medford to Trail for the grand opening of the Rogue Elk Hotel.

Medford architect Charles Power designed the inn that was built by Canadian artist Will McDonald and his brothers. Mc Donald wanted to construct a resort for wealthy visitors and as a place to display his artwork.  

Described as one of the finest places in Southern Oregon to vacation, the 5,300- square-foot hotel had electricity, running water, eight bedrooms and 10 bathrooms.  Ferns and flowers decorated the inside.  Two massive fireplaces contained 90 tons of native rock. The McDonald brothers built most of the furniture. The hotel offered guides and horses for hunting and “a natural swimming pool.”  Visitors to the hotel over the years included President Herbert Hoover, actor Clark Gable and writer Zane Grey.

In the mid-1950s, Will McDonald died, his widow sold the hotel, and the building fell into disrepair.  Several owners have attempted to revive the old landmark, but it has never returned to its former glory.

The National Register of Historic Places listed the lodge in 1980. 

Sources: Atwood, Kay. "Rogue Elk Hotel." National Register of Historical Places Inventory-, US Department of the Interior, 16 May 1979, https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/./e9d0302e-dcef-45d4-a470-70d91dbb522f?brandi. Accessed 9 Sept. 2017;   "What happened to the Rogue Elk Hotel?" Mail Tribune, 22 Apr. 2007 [Medford] , www.mailtribune.com/article/20070422/ourvalley/703080329. Accessed 9 Sept. 2017l; La Plante, Margaret. Images of America Crater Lake National Park. Charleston, SC, Arcadia, Publishing, 2013.      

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.