Hot springs attracted visitors to East Lake
East Lake Hot Springs Resort, a private resort, was located on the shores of East Lake in Newberry Crater. The resort was originally established in 1915 and centered on hot springs on the edge of the lake that attracted visitors for restorative values of the minerals in the hot water.
The earliest automobile access to East Lake was the road constructed by ranger John Curl over the caldera east rim in 1913. The road led to the hot springs resort started by Fred Shintaffer on East Lake in 1915.
The first small bath house was built at the hot springs in 1915. The first resort with overnight facilities was built in 1918. The resort was completed in 1919 and operated by East Lake Resort Company.
The facility included an eight-room hotel, a bath house at which visitors enjoyed mineral baths, a dining room, a bunk house and a rental cottage. Hot water from the caldera's natural springs was pumped from the ground by a gasoline powered pump.
The resort was a very popular tourist attraction. Visitors came from across the nation to enjoy the mineral baths and the incredible scenery.
Travel into the caldera was over a primitive road that wandered on the south shores of Paulina and East Lakes. It was an adventure just to drive into the caldera to get to the hot springs.
The original hot springs resort burned in 1923. Another resort was built in 1924, and the facility continued for several years, although the buildings became dilapidated in the harsh winter environments.
The resort only operated during summer and fall months as access was not possible over the primitive roads in the winter and spring as most of the area was covered by deep snow. The newer structures burned in November 1941. The facility was not rebuilt.
Today, a private resort operates at East Lake under a permit from the Forest Service. East Lake is now part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.
Steve Lent is a local historian and assistant director of the Bowman Museum. He can be reached at: 541-447-3715.
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