Oregon Caves: More Than A Cave

Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve is located in the steep and rolling hills of southern Oregon, on a dead-end highway 20 miles east of the town of Cave Junction. The cave itself, reportedly discovered in 1874 by Elijah Davidson, is the namesake and highlight of the park. However, due to the long history of visitors, the park has some stunning historic buildings, as well.


The main two buildings, known as the Chateau (pictured above) and the Chalet (pictured below), offer a visitor center, gift shops, and a cafe. The Chateau (completed in 1934) is primarily a hotel, and the upper floors of the Chalet serve as ranger housing and work space. The Chalet was originally constructed in 1924 and was reconstructed, using many of the materials as well as the general plan from the original, in 1942.


I recently got to pay the park a visit as part of a preservation project with my alma mater, University of Oregon, and I was blown away by these buildings. From the cedar bark siding to the stream that runs through the Chateau dining room, it’s safe to say that the the cave is not the only reason to visit Oregon Caves National Monument.




Sources and further reading:

Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve main page.

You can stay at the Chateau May through October. Interested? More here. Just want to see some interior photographs? Check out the online photo tour.

These buildings are all part of the Oregon Caves Historic District. You can check out the National Register nomination form here.

PS The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) turned 50 on Saturday! Happy birthday, NHPA. Thanks for helping us protect places that matter. Read more: The Loss–and Law–That Gave Life to the Modern Historic Preservation Movement.





5 thoughts on “Oregon Caves: More Than A Cave

  1. I’m convinced! This national monument and preserve is on my list for the next time I go through southern Oregon. Thanks for the tempting photos and information. I’m disappointed that you don’t show the stream running through the Chateau dining room, though.


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