History & Culture
Olympic Forest Reserve was established in 1897 and transferred to the Forest Service as Olympic National Forest in 1907. Mt. Olympus National Monument, established in 1909, was designated as Olympic National Park in 1938 by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Today many of the buildings and guard stations built by the Forest are now managed by the Park. View Olympic National Park History and Culture Information.
Japanese History on the Olympic Peninsula
Japanese families have been a rich part of Olympic Peninsula cultural history. Yet, World War II caused a big impact to local Japanese. Executive order #9066 meant the disruption of lives for over 7,000 Puget Sound people of Japanese ancestry.
The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) was signed on October 16th, 1966. The National Historic Preservation Act ensures that the history of these properties is taken into consideration so that these sites can continue to be enjoyed and convey the history of the Olympic Peninsula. Many significant historic sites are available for the public to enjoy through recreation rentals or interpretive sites, while others are still in use in the administration of the forest as work spaces, along trails and roadways.
The Louella Guard Station was built in 1912 by Forest Service employee E. M. Cheney, who dedicated the structure to his wife, Louella. During the Great Depression, a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp was built in the lower part of the meadow. The Forest partnered with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) this past summer (2016) to restore and maintain Louella Cabin.
There are very few log structures from the early Forest Service era that survive in the Pacific Northwest. Interrorem Cabin is the oldest administrative facility in the Olympic National Forest, and one of the earliest remaining Forest Service structures in Oregon and Washington. The cabin has been in use for over 100 years!
Lake Quinault Lodge
The historic Lake Quinault Lodge was built in 1926, in just 53 days! Since 1926, the present structure has provided the area with what is undoubtedly its most central and important hostelry related to recreational pursuits. It’s a fun fact to note that President Franklin D. Roosevelt dined at the lodge on October 1, 1937 while he was touring the peninsula.
The powerful windstorm of January 29, 1921 was a major event, especially for the Washington coast and Olympic Mountains.
The founding of the National Forest System and the Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has its roots in the last quarter of the 19th century. The national forests (at first called forest reserves) began with the Forest Reserve Act of 1891, which allowed the president to establish forest reserves from timber covered public domain land. Several early leaders and visionaries, along with willing presidents (especially Teddy Roosevelt), scientific and conservation organizations, and newly trained forestry professionals, led the successful effort in retaining millions of acres of Federal forest land for future generations.
The National Museum of Forest Service History will pursue a vision for national conservation education, historical preservation and remembrance of the significant deeds and people associated with the Forest Service.