Pamplin Media Group – CENTRAL OREGON HISTORY: Suttle Lake Resort rises from the ashes of multiple fires

The station, originally launched in the 1920s, has undergone many changes of ownership and has often succumbed to fire.

Suttle Lake Resort is located at the northeast end of Suttle Lake. John M. Gates of Bend obtained grant rights to Suttle Lake in 1923 and had plans for the development of a resort town. The station was never built. The Forest Service built a road around the north side of the lake to Blue Lake in 1923. A lodge was built in 1925 by permittees Jack and Ellis Lloyd.

There were some changes of ownership and the lodge burned down on November 13, 1929. A new lodge was quickly built. There was a new boom for the resort when skiing became popular at Suttle Lake. The Forest Service has developed a ski trail just southwest of the resort. It was also a recreational site that included swimming docks, an outdoor auditorium, a softball field and fire pits for the summer.

George Sherman was granted ownership of the resort and in 1937 announced plans to improve the resort and intended to make it a year-round recreation centre. Another fire swept through the lodge on August 16, 1939 and completely destroyed the lodge. In December 1939, the Civilian Conservation Corps built several miles of cross-country ski trails in the area and it became known as the Blue Lake Ski Trail.

The Suttle Lake Resort Lodge was rebuilt and remodeled in 1940 to include a hotel and restaurants. The lodge began hosting ski groups at the Hoodoo Ski Bowl. Summer recreation was also provided with accommodation for riders, motorists and hikers. The new lodge also included a kitchen, upstairs bedrooms, a dance floor, and a great view of Suttle Lake and nearby Mount Washington. New owners George Prince and George Keyes installed a sewage treatment system and a small hydroelectric plant was built on Lake Creek. The new lodge was opened on March 2, 1941 and has been described as one of the finest lodges in the North West forests.

The lodge changed hands several times until the early 1950s. In 1952, the Forest Service closed the operation until necessary improvements could be made. Here again followed a period of change of ownership until it was purchased in 1973 by Ken Lovegren, owner of nearby Blue Lake Resort. Mr. Lovegren extensively remodeled the lodge and planned to reopen it in the spring of 1974 when another fire destroyed the buildings. The site lay in disarray for several years until 1985 when an attempt was made to reestablish the resort and lodge, but the effort failed because it did not meet Forest Service standards.

The Forest Service wanted to restore the services provided at the station since the 1920s and was actively seeking candidates to build and operate a year-round station. In 1992, new resort management began renovating the marina, store, docks and pavilion. It has again become a popular recreational facility. It continues to operate today.


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