Cloud Cap Inn, Mt. Hood, Oregon

A brief history

The Inn opened August 6, 1889. C.E.S. Woods' wife Nannie named it. By the very next year, pictures show famous Western artist Alfred Bierstadt as a guest in 1890. One of his justly-famed paintings of the mountain is shown near page bottom.

36 years later, in 1926, there was a crisis year for the Inn, and the previously well-organized drive for funding of a new Inn and permanent hard-surface road died. But a big effort to construct a spectacular tramway to the 11,000 ft. summit began in 1926. It continued and the project was approved by the Secretary of Agriculture. Sadly the grandiose tramway died a funding death during the beginning of the Great Depression a few years later. WW II pretty much rung the death knell of the Inn as a functioning mountain Inn, and by 1950 the Forest Service was talking of demolishing it. The Hood River Crag Rats, a climbing club, took over responsibility for the Inn in 1954, saving it from Forest Service demolition. In 1974 great tidings arrived when Cloud Cap Inn was placed on Oregon's official registry of Historic Places, along with Vista House at Crown Point in the nearby Columbia River Gorge. The Inn's beautifully weathered logs are Amabilis Fir logs. The crystal water is piped in from Tilly Jane Creek.


An interesting final note, in the movie above, the image of the boy high on the mountain shows the Eliot Glacier, which was much larger during the Little Ice Age; in fact, the Eliot reached its maximum ice advance about the time of the American Revolution (mid-1700s).

Here is one of Alfred Bierstadt's famed paintings in the style of the Hudson River School of painting. It's main subject is the northwest aspect of Mt. Hood, with the fanciful addition of several other scenic gems: Multnomah Falls, the Columbia River, Mt. Jefferson and something beyond that, maybe the The Sisters. No such view actually exists in reality, but it's a stunning painting anyway......These were big paintings, many 4x6 feet or even more in size. At least one of Bierstadt's other paintings is in the collection of the Oregon Historical Society in Portland.


More about CES Wood, Oregon's "Poet of the Desert."

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Last revised 10/04/2016, reviewed 05/06/2024