Restoration

The Friends of the Oregon Caves and Chateau is a non-profit corporation working with the National Park Service in the preservation, stewardship and improvement of the cultural and natural resources of the Oregon Caves National Monument.

The Friends benefit the Monument through the concern, care and philanthropy of dedicated individuals assembled by the Friends.

There are so many ways you can join in the excitement as we share the magic of the remarkable marble caves at the Oregon Caves National Monument, and help preserve this legacy for future generations.

Once the most visited place in Oregon, and loved by so many, we look forward to your stories, photos and support. Please take a second to look through our restoration projects below.

Restoring the Chateau at the Oregon Caves

Your gift has major impact.
Your support allows us to:

  • Restore the historic Chateau and Monterey furniture collection
  • Increase educational, cultural, and family experiences at the monument
  • Research and preserve the history of the Oregon Caves National Monument

2011— 2015 Targets

  • Complete the structural and interior restoration of the Chateau.

Key Strategies

  • Complete the Model Room to make it guest ready: restore the sleeping room, bath, and add luxurious soft-goods.
  • Develop parallel strategies for interior restoration to compliment the NPS Life Safety and Accessibility plan.
  • Complete the Capital Campaign Plan

The Oregon Caves Chateau (Chateau), a National Landmark and the primary historic structure in the OCNM, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A significant element in the Chateau’s historic character is the historic Monterey furniture collection, believed to be the largest public collection of in the Northwest.

Built by private entrepreneurs during the Depression, the 23 room lodge, still retains the local timbers and cedar bark harvested locally. The Chateau’s original lighting and many historic details bring intrigue to visitors.

However, many of the Chateau’s original features urgently require attention. Lack of insulation in the guest rooms, creaky plumbing, badly aged electrical and heating systems and worn interiors all require upgrading to allow the Chateau to realize its historic contribution to both culture and the local economy.

The Restoration of the Oregon Caves Chateau will be accomplished through a broad based fundraising effort that will involve every segment of Josephine County, the state of Oregon and national contributors. Business, government, civic organizations, private and public foundations and private citizens will all play an important role in this exciting project. Soon, the Chateau will be an example of community pride and accomplishment – supporting top quality conservation and restoration to retain the value and integrity of the original design and construction. The Chateau and the Oregon Caves will play a vibrant and dynamic role in travel and tourism for the State of Oregon and for the enjoyment of all citizens for the next 100 years.

The Guide Dormitory is in Desperate Need of Repair

The Historic Guide Dormitory housed seasonal employees, college students, from 1934 to 1978. Oh the stories these walls could tell!!

Since then, the unused Guide Dormitory has recently fallen into disrepair. Restoration of this facility will offer lower cost lodging to families, a retreat and community meeting space, which could additionally be used during the off- season (December – March) when the Chateau is closed.

Key Strategies

  • Raise $200,000 in individual, business donations, and in-kind contributions
  • Submit grant proposals and proposals to partners, to support a new roof and to stabilize the foundation.
  • Hold a reunion weekend at the Monument to engage volunteers and to hear those stories!!
  • To complete a “green, environmentally, sustainable and historical” restoration of this facility

Our Collection of Monterey Furniture is on the Road to Restoration

The Chateau is furnished with the largest single collection of Monterey Furniture in the country. Wildly popular when it was manufactured by the Mason Manufacturing Company in Los Angeles from 1929—1941, the furniture is crafted from Oregon alder in early “Spanish revival” style. Many pieces include wrought iron accents; some are painted with wildflower ornamentation; others are lightly upholstered with the emphasis always remaining on the wood and it’s simple carving. Authenticity is branded on the furniture with a horseshoe symbol and in some cases the word Monterey.
A flood in December 1972, washed almost the entire collection of the dining room furniture down the canyon. Also, many years of wear and tear, plus staff members wanting more “modern” furnishings have reduced the collection by at least 50%.

Jerralynn Ness, who met and worked with George Mason, and Don Williams, Senior Furniture Conservator at the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Materials Research and Education (SCMRE) are our advisors on this project.

Key Strategies

  • Create “All Call” for furniture donations in cooperation with Pendleton Woolen Mills
  • Develop reproductions of lamps for use in the Chateau and for sale
  • Work with the Pendleton Woolen Mills to develop a collection of “soft goods” that will compliment the furnishings.
  • Continue to work on the restoration of the Oregon Caves Collection.
  • NPS has contracted with MPF Conservation restore 20 pieces of the Chateau Monterey Furniture Collection.