The Chateau at the Oregon Caves National Monument
The Oregon Caves Chateau (alternatively known as The Chateau at the Oregon Caves National Monument) was built in 1934 directly adjacent to the entrance to the Oregon Caves in the Siskiyou Mountains of Oregon. It was constructed as part of a larger complex that includes a visitor center, employee and rental cottages, and a chalet. Aside from providing lodging right next to the popular tourist destination of the Oregon Caves, the facilities were all built to help stimulate the depressed economy of the general area. Rather than level the surrounding property, designer Gus Liam decided to build the Chateau to fit into the existing land and one side of it sits in a large depression or gorge, while the other side adjoins the existing road and parking lot. It was built completely out of local trees and other materials, causing it to perfectly mesh with the surrounding forest.
A flood swept through the area in 1963, damaging the lower parts of the Chateau. The areas were restored and other minimal changes were made to the structure over time, but the Chateau has maintained its appearance over all these years. It currently houses 23 guest rooms, as well as a 30's-style Coffee Shop, gift shop, Dining Room, pond and waterfall, and large lobby complete with chess sets and a baby grand piano. Interestingly enough, to maintain its secluded theme, the guest rooms do not include television sets and/or telephones.
Elizabeth: The Ghost of Room 310
And what historic lodge is complete without a resident ghost? The story goes that in the early days of the Chateau, 1937 to be exact, a young couple came to the Oregon Caves Chateau on their honeymoon. Much to the woman's dismay, she caught her husband having a tryst with a member of the housekeeping staff, despite the fact that they had been married only hours earlier. Devastated, the woman returned to her room (Room 310) and took her own life. Some stories say she jumped from the window, while others say that she slit her wrists in the room's bathtub. However, the more popular version is that she hung herself from the heating pipe that still resides in the room. The woman's name was reportedly Elizabeth and her sad tale didn't end with her death. In fact, despite that there does not appear to be any evidence that this particular suicide ever occurred in the Oregon Caves Chateau, several people believe that the ghost of Elizabeth remains in its halls to this day.
One of the most popular hauntings associated with Elizabeth is when someone stays in Room 310 - her room. Guests have reported unpacking their luggage and leaving the room, only to return and find everything packed back up again. People who stay in the room, as well as others that have stayed on the third floor have also heard someone pacing up and down the hallway at night, as if impatiently waiting for them to leave. Still others have reported a strong, cold breeze blowing through the room when the windows were closed. Finally, the Chateau's staff have reported finding the furniture completely re-arranged to the way it was in 1937 or even odder, mysteriously placed in the hallway outside the room.
Elizabeth's antics are not isolated to Room 310 either. Directly opposite the room is a Linen Closet where people have reported hearing a woman crying, only to find the sobbing stop and the closet empty when investigated. Old crank-style phones on either side of the third floor are there so that guests that stayed in the past could contact the lobby, but members of the staff have reported getting calls from the third floor with no one on the other end. Finally, strange experiences elsewhere in the Chateau are attributed to the spirit of Elizabeth as well. The baby grand piano has been known to play by itself in the lobby, as well as the spontaneous sounds of a party with several people talking and laughing echoing through the empty room. Finally, people have reported doors opening and closing on their own, as well as items falling off of shelves and almost hitting those who refuse to believe in the spirit.
The paranormal activity is reportedly at the highest during the winter months, when the Chateau is closed and only members of the staff remain. However, there are scattered reports from guests during its operating season as well. In fact, the strange occurrences in Room 310 are reported to be the most active when the person lodging in the room happens to be a male.
The Chateau Today
The Oregon Caves Chateau still entertains guests to this day. It is typically open during the months of May through late October, but closes down with the rest of the area when the snow moves in. During its off-season months, the Chateau does occasionally offer special events. It is now operated by the Oregon Caves Outfitters, a part of the non-profit organization, Illinois Valley Community Development Organization. Check their site below for more information about the Chateau.