National Register of Historic Places in Jackson County

National Register #97000588: Parsons Dead Indian Lodge 25 September 2008
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National Register #97000588
Parsons Dead Indian Lodge
3383 Hyatt Prairie Road
Howard Prairie Recreation Area
Built 1937

Located on forest and meadow land in the southern Cascade Range, the Dead Indian Lodge hunting camp was built in 1937 for orchardist Reginald Hascall Parsons. The Modern Rustic complex is one of the few extant seasonal retreats in this area built for private use before World War II.

Parsons was a successful investor with extensive land holdings in Washington, Oregon and California including the Hillcrest Orchard in Medford.

The recreational use of Dead Indian Plateau dates back to the mid-1800s. As early as 1864, two Ashland residents organized an elk hunting expedition. By late 1860s, Ashland area residents had developed a primitive wagon trail to the head of Dead Indian Creek.

In the 1870s and 1880s, Dead Indian Soda Springs became a popular destination for area residents who spent a few days or weeks there each summer.

Judge Orange Jacobs, writing for the Pacific Magazine, promoted the area as the "paradise of sportsmen, where elk, bear, and black-tailed deer were everywhere and where pheasants, mountain quail and blue grouse were abundant, and where trout flourished in streams and lakes. What more could the sportsman desire?"

Development for recreational use accelerated after the turn of the century as improved roads into the area and the increasing use of automobiles afforded better access from the Rogue River Valley.

The 1920s and 1930s witnessed an even greater increase in recreational use as outdoor pursuits became affordable to more and more Americans and as the Forest Service encouraged outdoor recreation, especially during the Great Depression when Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal relief programs fostered the development of recreational facilities on public lands.

Adapted from the NRHP nomination submitted in 1997.

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