During WW II, many parks such as Mt. Rainer recruited local women to serve as seasonal park rangers. Barbara Hilton and Katherine Burns worked at Nisqually Entrance Station, 1943-45 Photo courtesy Barbara Hilton
Mount Rainier National Park Centennial
For residents of Washington state, particularly of
the Puget Sound area, Mount Rainier has long been an icon, a
recreational mecca, and spiritual retreat. For more than a hundred
miles in any direction, Mount Rainier is the dominant land form on
the horizon, providing an almost mystical presence of pristine
wilderness right at the urban doorstep. On March 2, 1898, Americans
drew a rough boundary around the mountain, its meadows, waterfalls,
and fringe of lowland forest, and designated Mount Rainier as the
country's fifth national park. It was the first park whose
long-term development was guided by a master plan.
To mark the centennial of Mount Rainier National
Park, a year-long celebration centered on the theme, "A Century of
Resource Stewardship." The Mount Rainier Centennial Committee
planned the occasion with national scope, but focused most
activities locally. Events held throughout the year encompassed
special exhibits, festivals, tours, conferences, programs, films,
and lectures about the history and different aspects of the
mountain, which were held at the park, at museums, universities,
libraries, and other venues. National and local media also produced
news segments, documentaries, and articles about Mount Rainier.
To illustrate and fulfill the centennial theme on
resource stewardship, the centennial committee and park management
identified four major projects to complete. These were:
Rehabilitation of the historic White River Patrol Cabin: This
historic back country cabin serves as a mini-museum about the
park's extensive trail system, including the Wonderland
Ecological restoration of the sunrise campground.
Produce the historic Longmire Gas Station Transportation
exhibit: In 1907, Mount Rainier became the first national park to
admit automobiles and to charge entrance fees, represented by this
recreated 1929 gas station, featuring vintage gasoline
Complete the final mile of the Wonderland Trail: Construction of
this 93-mile route, which encircles the mountain, began in the
Among the three major centennial celebrations in 1998, March 2
was proclaimed Mount Rainier Day and celebrated with speakers,
skiing activities, a slide presentation, and a 200-pound centennial
cake. Smaller versions of the cake were served to visitors
throughout summer weekends at park visitor centers.
Legacy documentation includes the 144-page illustrated book,
Washington's Mount Rainier National Park: A Centennial
Celebration, a catalog of park records; a centennial
medallion, scanned image printouts, 1999 media coverage (newspapers
and magazine articles); and centennial speeches.
Originally submitted by: Jennifer Dunn, Representative (8th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.