The Oregon Caves Chateau
Part 2 - Interior Public Areas
June 6-8, 2004
by Jess Stryker
Click on any photo for a larger image.
The photo above is the Chateau lobby. The fireplace is to your right out of the picture. You can see part of the grand staircase to the left. Behind you a doorway leads to guest rooms on this floor. While this level is called the first floor, there are actually 3 floors below you. The ceiling supports are 30 inch diameter pine or fir logs with a polished finish, the ceiling beams are rough finish pine/fir about 18 inch by 24 inch in size. The gray color of the beams was created by coating them with a thin layer of cement dust. Walls are paneled with redwood.
Planning to visit the Chateau? See our primary Oregon Caves Chateau Information page where you will find an extensive list of the Chateau's facilities and amenities, maps and directions, the Chateau's direct reservations phone number, and a number of specific suggestions that will make your visit more enjoyable.
Oregon Caves Chateau Interior:
Directly across from the registration desk, this double-sided marble fireplace is the central feature of the lobby.
A closer look at the fireplace. The rock removed from the site when the foundation was excavated was used to build the fireplace. The man in the photo between the snowshoes is Elijah Davidson, who discovered the Oregon Caves in 1874.
Julie is standing in front of the opposite side of the fireplace from the photo above. Note you can see the registration desk behind the fireplace.
Another view of the backside of the fireplace. The bust over the fireplace is of Elijah Davidson, who discovered the Oregon Caves.
Turning around from the photo above, this photo shows the plate glass windows that line the lobby. Look out the windows and you notice you are looking out into the tree tops. The Chateau is built into the side of a steep canyon. Although the lobby is at ground level on the front side, on the back side it is 4 floors above the creek bed!
The lobby from the grand staircase. While the lobby doors to your left are at ground level, these windows look out into the tree tops because the creek bed is 4 floors below.
The grand staircase. Note the registration desk at the right.
The treads and rails are oak, support stringers are 24" diameter pine/fir logs notched for the treads, and the balustrades are Madrone with the red bark left on.
From the lobby, we head down the grand staircase to the Dining room level. Outside the window you can see that the waterfall and Trout Pond are below you. To the right at the landing a second stair leads to the Caves Diner Coffee Shop. To the left goes to the gift shop. The wide staircase at the bottom right of the photo that is roped off leads to the Dining Room.
The coffee shop is on the courtyard level of the Chateau. It was added in 1937 and retains it's original look. The waiter talking with Julie is Paul, one of the friendly employees at the Chateau.
This photo shows the large mirror behind the counter in the Coffee Shop. The walls are paneled with knotty pine, the counter tops are birch and maple.
In the first part of the tour I mentioned that the Chateau spans the creek like a dam. During the winter of 1964 Southern Oregon was hit with a series of huge storms. On December 22 warm rain caused a sudden snow melt and a flash flood roared down the creek. The pipes under the Chalet and Chateau buildings could not contain the water. A wall of mud, rocks and debris surged through the archway of the Chalet, and poured down into the Chateau where it became trapped and started filling the building. The building started to groan and shift as the floors began to give way under the weight of the water. Winter managers Bob Hines and Harry Christiansen were in the Chalet at the time, and saw the wall of water go into the Chateau. At the risk of their lives, they waded into the Chateau dining room, where they smashed out the plate glass windows, allowing the water to flow out, and saving the building. However major damage resulted to the building, much of it still apparent.
The coffee shop windows look out on the courtyard and Trout Pond. The steel pole was added after the building was damaged in the floods of 1964.
Coffee shop chair detail.
The dining room windows look out at the canyon below the Chateau. The windows are 3 floors above the creek bed.
A small portion of the creek water is routed through a rock channel in the floor of the dining room. The gift shop is visible on the right.
Looking back at the creek from the other end. You can see the grand staircase in the background. The picture windows in the previous photos are behind the camera.
Below the courtyard level of the hotel are 2 levels of "basements". The next floor down contains an employee dining area and storage. The bottom basement level below it contains mechanical equipment. I don't have any pictures, sorry. We will now go back up to the lobby level and explore the upper floors.
On the opposite side of the Chateau from the lobby and registration desks on the first floor are guest rooms. The wall paneling in the halls and rooms is the original fiberboard. Narrow halls typical of many older hotels.
No, the photo is not distorted. The walls lean due to damage from the flood in 1964, when the building shifted due to the enormous weight of the water that filled much of the floor below.
Heading up to the second floor on the grand staircase, this window looks over the Trout Pond to the steps leading to the Chalet/visitor's center.
A small lobby at the top of the stairs on the second floor. The desk is one of the more ornate pieces of Monterey furniture in the Chateau. The Chateau houses the largest collection of authentic antique Monterey furniture in the world, all of it is original furnishings. This piece alone has a value likely around $2500.00 or more.
Hallway on the second floor. The pipes for the fire sprinklers were added in 1955. The door at the end of the hall is the fire escape, metal fire escapes were added to the exterior in 1962.
Phones are still present in many of the hallways. There are NO phones in the rooms.
The grand staircase stops at the second floor. To reach the third floor, this small narrow staircase located in a corner of the hotel is used.
The 3rd floor hallways are even narrower than the 2nd floor halls. These are essentially "attic" rooms, but many of them have very unique qualities. We will visit several of them in the next part of the tour. Obviously the 3rd floor was intended to be for servants and the less well-healed guests!
This window is in the ceiling of the 3rd floor hallway. It is used as the access door to the attic above. Why is a window used rather than a door? So far, nobody at the Chateau seems to know why.
Now let's take a look inside some of the guest rooms, and we'll check out the collection of classic Monterey furniture at the Oregon Caves Chateau!
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All text and images by Jess Stryker, unless noted. Text copyright © Jess Stryker, 2007. Photos copyright © Jess Stryker, 2004. All rights reserved.
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