Period III: Individual Shelters - 1938 to 1941
National Park Service and the CCC

General Description:

In June1938 a large portion of the Olympic National Forest and the Olympic National Monument were blended to form Olympic National Park. For the next three years, the Park Service matured an administrative framework for managing this new park. During this period, with funds from the Public Works Administration, it constructed three trailside shelters, all the same design. Only one shelter, Soleduck Falls (Canyon Creek), is still in existence.

Canyon Creek Shelter

(Soleduck Falls)


Soleduck Falls shelter is located approximately one mile east of the termination of the Sol Duc River road. It was evaluated in 1998 and 2006.

The design of the Soleduck Falls Shelter was a radical departure in style from the earlier Forest Service and National Park Shelters. It is "T" shaped in plan, with a rectangular main body (twelve feet by twenty-five feet) and a projecting cross gable covering a fire ring. The central opening into the shelter is only one third the length, creating small side alcoves at each end of the structure. The design appears though to have drawn on a small feature often associated with earlier shelters. The earlier shelter design did not formalize the location of a fire ring immediately in front of the shelter opening, but it is implied by NPS descriptions of shelters, "...the front is open to the friendly warmth and light of the campfire." 1     What NPS did was adopt this motif of a campfire at the open front of the shelter, but protecting it with gable roof incorporating a sheet metal hood for the climate conditions of the Olympics.

Period 1

Figure No. 1: Soleduck Falls Shelter, May 2006.

Stylistically, the new shelter design had nothing in common with earlier shelters. The walls were solid log, peeled and drawn to a near perfect uniformity. Log extensions at the corners alternated in short and long lengths, each with a chisel end face. The foundation was concrete. It utilized a standard gable roof with extended plate logs and ridgepole to support an exterior log rafter. The gable end walls were notched vertical half logs with lancet ends.

This structure, while conceptually following the premise of the National Park Service Rustic Style of using native materials, was featureless in character. Everything was smooth, uniform, precise, and measured. It was not well received by the public.

General Discussion:

On August 29, 1938, less than three months after the creation of Olympic National Park, Assistant Landscape Architect Max Walliser arrived for duty as Resident Architect. 2     By December of 1938, the Landscape Architect had completed preliminary sketches for three different types of shelters and the Superintendent has selected sites for additional shelters. 3     Both the resident Engineer and the Landscape Architect visited the selected locations for the shelters to select siting and orientation. By July 1939, the Soleduck Shelter, constructed by the CCC, was 90 per cent complete. 4

Little information shows up in NPS files on the maintenance of the shelter until the 1970's, when the shelter is listed by type as "P.S. Massive." It is noted as having twelve (12) bunks, the largest of any shelter before or after. Three years later, in 1974, a shelter inventory judges the shelter to be in poor condition and by 1980 maintenance records indicate "Renovation to be done." Maintenance repairs must have been undertaken sometime in the 1980's. The Cultural Resource Inventory Form for the shelter notes that new bunks were installed in 1981-82. The 1998 assessment it found to be in good condition. On site, one can see where crown ends of wall logs have had new ends replaced using epoxy connections. This work is assumed to be associated with the repairs from a tree fall in 2002. By 2005 some serious areas of deterioration had developed.

Bearing on a concrete foundation, the wall logs vary from 9" to 12". They extend beyond the saddle notch corners with chisel face crown ends. A 12" ridge log supports 8" rafter poles with 2" x 6" rough sawn shake nailers. The front gable extension is supported on two 12" diameter log columns.

  • (See General observations)


    Continued management of site grading for moisture management and sill log exposure required, as well as keeping site vegetation and moss cleared from logs; this was noted in the 1998 assessment.

  • The 2006 assessment found severe deterioration in the bottom two log courses on both the east and north elevations. Some minor surface deterioration was beginning to develop on the crown ends of several lower log courses, while at least two crown ends at the northeast corner had serious deterioration. Crown ends that had been previous replaced using epoxy were showing deterioration at the joint. Both log columns supporting the gable roof over the fire ring had serious deterioration at the foundation level.


    Replace two base log courses on east and north elevations; 9" to 12" diameter fir sill logs.
    Replace both front 12" fir column logs
    Replace deteriorated crown ends using scarf joint with stainless steel connections and wood plugs; use of epoxy is not recommended.
    Use of borate insert rods to reduce deterioration is recommended for the column bases.

Period 1

Figure No. 2: Soleduck Falls Shelter, May 2006; on left, note penetration of three inch knife blade into 2nd course log; on right, the base of the log column is developing deterioration.

  • The west end of the roof frame and shakes were repaired in 2002 following a tree fall. The remainder of the roof was in good condition, the valley metal appeared sound, and there were no indications of leaks on the interior.


    Keep roof clean of duff and needles.

  • Both the 1998 or 2006 assessments noted the interior was void of bunks, table or floor.

1   Good, Albert H., Park and Recreation Structures, Part II, page 96.
2   Report from Preston P. Macy, Asst. Chief Ranger, to O. A. Tomlinson, Supt. Mount Rainer National Park, 2 Sept. 1938, Superintendent's Monthly Reports, on file archives ONP.
3   Memo from Acting Supt. To Supt. Tomlinson, 2 Dec. 1938; on file archives ONP.
4   Memo from Acting Supt. To Supt. Tomlinson, 9 Aug. 1939; on file archives ONP.

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