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Timberline Lodge 75th Anniversary Celebration: a history, a blanket, a showcase

Timblerline Lodge, Oregon’s most historic and beautiful ski lodge, celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2012. Pendleton Woolen Mills will help Friends of Timberline celebrate the  anniversary  with an elegant blanket that bears a special commemorative label.

Timberline Lodge was constructed on the south slope of Mount Hood in Oregon by the Works Progress Administration. Better known as the WPA, this government agency employed millions of workers during the Great Depression with projects that improved the country’s infrastructure. Timberline Lodge was an experiment;  a chance for both skilled and unskilled workers to contribute to a project that went beyond basic public works like housing and roads.

There is no other building in the nation quite like Timberline Lodge.  It is the only twentieth-century public building of its size that was constructed and furnished entirely by hand. All the woodwork, wrought iron, weaving, painting, mosaic, and more were done by skilled craftspeople and their WPA apprentices. Materials for the construction were sourced locally: wood for construction and furniture, stone for exteriors and fireplaces, locally grown fibers for upholstery, bedspreads, and draperies.The lodge is not just an inn, but a museum that permanently exhibits the finest design, painting, and craft work of the 1930s.

When Friends of Timberline was founded in 1975, one of the goals was to sponsor skilled crafters to replicate “in the spirit of the original” the 1930’s WPA era textiles designed for Timberline Lodge. This included hand-hooked rugs made of burlap and wool. To replicate them, the Bishop family, owners of Pendleton Woolen Mills, generously donated Pendleton woolen fabric scraps. Volunteer Northwest craftspeople painstakingly made over one hundred hand-hooked rugs in Primitive style. Dedication and pride are in every piece. The rugs were in Timberline Lodge guestrooms for many years.

The connection forged between the historic woolen mill and the historic lodge continues as these Northwest institutions mark important anniversaries: Pendleton Woolen Mills’ 100th in 2009, and Timberline’s 75th in 2012. You can help us celebrate at the Timberline Lodge 75th Anniversary Showcase at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store on McLoughlin Boulevard in Portland. The Showcase will feature furniture, photography, artwork, textiles, and other crafts created by hand for Timberline Lodge. Hand-hooked rugs, woven blankets, and more from the Friends of Timberline collection will be on display for the entire month of August.

Kicking off the month-long event will be a Trunk Show and reception at the Woolen Mill Store and Trunk Show on Thursday, August 2nd from 6-9pm. The reception will feature demonstrations by weavers, rug hookers, and wood carvers who continue to be involved with the Timberline Lodge restoration efforts. Local authors Jonathan Tullis and Sarah Baker Munro will be on hand to sign copies of Timberline Lodge, A Love Story (Diamond Jubilee Edition) and Timberline Lodge, The History Art & Craft of an American Icon, respectively. The Showcase and Trunk Show is free and open to the public.

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