Funding from the Oregon Cultural Trust is supporting the restoration project
SANTIAM PASS — For nearly 50 years, the Historic Santiam Pass Ski Lodge has been a favorite destination for Oregonians. Twenty miles west of Sisters, Oregon, the lodge is just one of six unique structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the late 1930s — and the character of its architecture and design makes it one of Oregon’s historic gems, representing a significant period in U.S. history.
Over the years, the lodge was popular in providing overnight accommodations for skiers — including Dwight and Susan Sheets, who grew up in Salem and were regular visitors to the Santiam Pass. Like many Oregonians, they would spend the night at the lodge while enjoying Hoodoo Ski Area. Both visited the lodge in their youth and although moving from Oregon in 1984 to follow teaching careers, visited it on yearly trips home.
There was a growing sadness that year after year the vacancy of the lodge was evident in its continued exterior deterioration. Time took its toll on the structure and it became clear that if the lodge was to have a future, restoration was needed.
“Despite its dilapidated exterior, after touring the lodge we found the structure to be sound and fully restorable,” said Dwight. “Our excitement rose with the realization that this wonderful place of hospitality could once again come back into service.”
In comes the Oregon Cultural Trust. Cultural organizations across Oregon will receive more than $2.7 million in funding from the Cultural Trust this year, thanks to the generosity of citizens who invested in the state’s cultural tax credit.
“Our mission is to lead Oregon in cultivating, growing and valuing culture as an integral part of communities and these awards are our most important contribution to that effort,” said Chuck Sams III, chair of the Cultural Trust board.
Eighty-nine awards in total will support a range of projects across the state, from tribal memorials to children’s theaters. One of those awards will go toward the restoration of Santiam Pass Ski Lodge.
The goal is to restore the lodge to its original look and feel to be used as a multipurpose community center. The lodge’s close proximity to US Highway 20 will allow it to serve travelers over Santiam Pass, providing needed year-round all-season ADA facilities.
“It will be a warm rustic place for hikers, skiers, sightseers and anyone who wants to enjoy the lodge’s beauty and the many activities the area provides,” said Dwight. The lodge will also be available for educational and family activities.
The restoration of the Historic Santiam Pass Lodge will take up to five years, but the benefits to Oregonians in the years to come are well worth the effort.