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Photo by Garth Guibord
Steiner Cabin Tour returns in August posted on 07/01/2021

Suzanne Zoller first tried to go on the annual Steiner Cabin Tour, offered by the Mount Hood Cultural Center & Museum, in 2017, but the tickets were sold out. Garrett Stokes planned on going last year, but the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.


This year, the tour returns on Saturday, Aug. 14, and Zoller and Stokes will get to enjoy the tour in an unusual fashion: as owners of two of the seven log cabins hand-built by Henry Steiner and his family during the 1920s and 1930s.

“It’s super exciting,” Zoller said. “It was just a dream we never thought would come true. (We) never thought we’d have an opportunity to get a Steiner Cabin and preserve it and restore it.”

Steiner built a number of log cabins in the Mountain community and beyond, known for their signature architectural features such as basalt fireplaces, log doors, half log staircases and more. Materials for the cabins were primarily native materials found around the site, with the only exceptions being items such as windows and sinks.

This year’s tour, a self-guided walking route through the community of Rhododendron that will take up to three hours, begins at a “pop-up” museum at the Log Lodge, 73330 Hwy. 26. Volunteers will greet participants at each cabin and provide a brief description of the cabin and owners, while participants will also get to meet the owners and learn more about their cabins.

Zoller, who grew up in the Portland area and spent time cross country skiing on Mount Hood, purchased her cabin with her boyfriend in July 2020. The cabin features a banister classic of Steiner’s work, but also a built-in bookshelf and a sleeping porch.

She added that the small cabin needed quite a lot of work and that it remains a work in progress. But her boyfriend spent the winter peeling and staining logs by hand to start the restoration process.

“When I saw it, it’s just an amazingly cute cabin,” Zoller said, adding that she expects the chimney and fireplace to be restored in time for the tour and that she’s also focused on restoring native plants to the property. “We never expected to get our hands on one.”

Stokes, meanwhile, purchased his Steiner Cabin in September 2020 and moved in that November. He was familiar with the Mountain community from visiting his son, who lives in Portland, and vacationing on Mount Hood. And after living in a 100-year-old craftsman house in Seattle, he feels right at home in his new cabin.

“I’m used to living in old, well built homes,” Stokes said. “This was a dream come true, to have an authentic Steiner on Mount Hood.”

Stokes noted a number of elements he enjoys, including the half-log staircase with a unique, curved railing, a lofted ceiling and one special feature not found in many Steiner Cabins: a bridge.

“Even the floors are just hand-planed,” he said. “That craftsmanship is just outstanding.”

Stokes’ cabin was in excellent shape, noting that he has focused on electrical and heating upgrades, but he also added that he’s brought in some special decor to the cabin. For nine years, Stokes lived close to Bavaria, where Steiner’s family came from, and he has a cuckoo clock and other items made from the area now in his cabin.

Lloyd Musser, the museum’s volunteer curator, noted that the tour (which started 15 years ago) offers a full range of features that Steiner Cabins are known for, while a couple cabins are now on the second generation of owners. He added that capacity for the tour is limited to 300 people.

“We’re feeling good,” Musser said about the mood at the museum. “We didn’t know what to expect when we reopened here.”

Tickets for the 2021 Steiner Cabin Tour will go on sale at 7 a.m. Thursday, July 1, and are available online at the museum’s website, www.mthoodmuseum.org. Tickets are $35 each for museum members and $40 each for non-members; they can be paid for with a credit card or via PayPal. All proceeds will benefit the Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum.

Participants should print a receipt at check-out. This will be exchanged for the required wrist band and tour map on August 14.

The usual etiquette rules apply: no pets, no high heels, no strollers in the homes and small children are not recommended. Some cabin owners may provide and request booties to be worn. Participants can also ride bicycles on the route.

For additional information, please call the museum at 503- 272-3301.

By Garth Guibord/MT





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