Homesteads and Recreation Stuctures

Olympic National Park contains a small, but diverse, collection of historic backcountry buildings pertaining to early settlement and seasonal recreational use. These buildings span some thirty years at the beginning of the 20th century.


The Grant Humes Ranch cabin and the Peter Roose homestead reflect a life style of self-sufficiency, but from different perspectives.

Grant Humes made a living by what the landscape gave him. He was a guide for hunters and fishermen. He forged trails and offered packing services to those wanting to experience the wilderness. His home site choice was deep into the mountains on a side hill bench overlooking an open meadow and the Elwha River. Grant Humes did not want to tame the wilderness, but to be a part of it.

In contrast, Peter Roose established his homestead near the coast on fairly level ground. He managed the landscape based in many ways on the Swedish traditions. The cultural landscape included a cleared farmstead, a pattern of building location based on husbandry of stock and crops, and a heritage of construction design. To understand the Peter Roose house, one has to understand its place in a controlled setting. He wanted to create his own environment within the wilderness.

Recreational Structures:

These structures, unlike the homesteads, were not envisioned for settlement, but for the experience of the wilderness on a seasonal basis. The creation of these buildings rested on the belief that spending time in the wilderness, removed from the comforts of civilization, would be healthy for one's spiritual and mental well-being.

Both the Botten and Remann cabins are small single room log structures that attempt to hide in the landscape and try to blend into the mountain environment. While Michael's Cabin was constructed more in an open clearing where stock could be managed, it was a more a place of refuge for the man they called "Cougar Mike" in a wilderness setting. In all three of these instances, the buildings represent individuals seeking a direct connection with nature and her uncivilized world.

The Enchanted Valley Chalet was a business venture constructed to accommodate visitors that sought to satisfy their desire for a wilderness experience. It needed to be remote as part of the wilderness experience was the journey away from civilization. The building had to be rustic to harmonize within the setting. The clients, though, paid for their opportunity to come into contact with Nature, and in exchange they expected some return in the form of catered meals, private rooms, and companionship. It was a shared experience of the wilderness for those who did not want to be alone.

Conservation Goals

These homestead and recreational structures provide a valuable perspective on Parkland history and development. They are a vestige of history beyond the park itself, giving insight and context for a better understanding of the Olympic Peninsula. Through the character of their settings and scale of construction we gain a greater appreciation for how the land was regarded and what it meant to the people who valued it.

These historic resources should to be addressed under a conservation policy of Preservation. Original material should be preserved and kept functional through a well-designed maintenance program. This program would include coordinated periodic inspections, essential annual maintenance task such as insuring good site drainage and roof cleaning, and where necessary restoration of deteriorated material and replacement in-kind of material and assemblies that have reach their service life. Such an investment will be a benefit to the Park and the resources under its care.

Elements of Significance and Character Defining Features:


Both of these homestead structures characterize, though in different manners, the last settlement efforts within some of the most rugged frontier of the contiguous United States. The structures should be conserved for their historical association with this type of cultural encounter, but conservation goals need also to extend beyond the immediate buildings and consider the setting within the surrounding landscape. At the Humes cabin this would mean some management of the landscape to recapture and retain the view of the Elwha River and meadow below. It would assist the visitor in understanding the reason why Grant Humes' selected this site in which to live. For the Peter Roose homestead, much of the same conservation reasoning is needed to manage this farm scape. There was order and cultural patterns imposed on this landscape to express civilization in the wilderness. Conservation goals should include the continued maintenance of the open clearing, repair and rehabilitation of the fence around the house, and preservation of the pathsways from house to barn and other outbuildings. These will expand a visitor's understanding of this remarkable example of old world culture in a new setting. Both these historic homesteads are visitor interpretation sites associated with the history of the park.

Recreational Structures:

The conservation approach to the Botten and Remann cabins, and to a degree this is true of Michael's cabin, is much the opposite from the homesteads. Beyond keeping good drainage patterns immediately around the buildings and limbs off of roofs, there should be only be minimal landscape management to keep the vegetation from encroaching on the struccture. These buildings were meant to withdraw into the forested settings. The focus of conservation goals is keeping the structures in good condition. The buildings are open to visitors and maintenance personnel for shelter from inclement weather on an emergency basis and should continue to be managed in such a manner.

The Enchanted Valley Chalet is more challenging in that it is a larger structure designed for a communal experience in a very popular setting. It is understood that a seasonal ranger is stationed at the chalet and the building is a destination for many backcountry Park visitors. With such visitor usage and its value as an administrative resource, the chalet should have a high priority in a conservation program. With the potential for large groups visiting the chalet, management of the structure should include a policy of limited usage of the second floor for overnight accommodation (maximum of nine persons even when equipped with fire escape ladders) since there is only a single exit stairs. No overnight usage should be made of the upper most floor under any circumstances.

In terms of significant character defining elements, as discussed above the landscape site and the location of the buildings within the site are of vital importance. Keeping the open nature of the sites and the relationship of the structures is critical. For the most part, the structures have retained a high degree of integrity regarding design, materials, and function. Continued maintenance using material that matches the original construction is vital. Retaining the wood windows, shake roofs, milled board doors, wood flooring, and log frames/walls all contribute to preserving the history of the site. Refraining from additional buildings or additions to existing structures is important. If new functions are needed, or lost functions restored, they should first be evaluated in terms of either using existing space in the structures, or restoring the structure associated with the lost function. If a new building is needed, then very careful attention needs to be paid to location in the setting and to the historic buildings. In all cases of proposed work, the cultural resource staff and park historical architect must be consulted during the planning process.

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