Timberline Lodge: Party at the Shining Hotel - Atlas Obscura
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Timberline Lodge: Party at the Shining Hotel

The Atlas is incredibly lucky to have a team of excellent writers, editors, and generally brilliant folks involved. We will be making introductions here over the next couple of weeks.

Sarah “Little” Brumble is a new member of the Atlas team based out of Portland, is a fantastic writer – see her appropriately Halloweeny entries on the mummy of Elmer McCurdy and the Aokigahara Suicide Forest – a great photographer, and an adventurous seeker of the world’s weirder sites! As proof of this, I present you with her report on the history of, accidents at, and awesome parties in the real life Shining Hotel. With that “Heeeere’s Sarah!” - DT

Little more than an hour’’s drive outside Portland, Oregon sits Timberline Lodge, one of the most storied hotels in the United States.  It’s perched at 6000 feet up Mount Hood, and was built by the WPA’s artisans at the height of the Great Depression.  Year-round, snow sport enthusiasts can enjoy its slopes and summit one of North America’s tallest active volcanoes.  Though noteworthy enough, these aspects of the Lodge aren’t responsible for its darker, popular appeal.

Does “The Overlook Hotel” ring a bell?  If not, you’’ve probably heard of Stanley Kubrick’s horror masterpiece The Shining, in which Jack Nicholson breaks through a white door with an axe, proclaiming “Heeeere’s Johnny!”

Yes, historic Timberline Lodge was used for the film’s exterior shots. While the inside does not have Technicolor carpet, nor is there a labyrinth in the parking lot (both of these were filmed on sound stages in London), the Lodge’’s distinct architecture still creeps-out thousands of visitors who make the pilgrimage up Mount Hood every year–…especially when the snowcat is parked out front of the maintenance shed!

At Halloween-time, a huge Portland-based corporation (rhymes with “spiky”) has been known to purchase the entire hotel to host a private, Shining-themed night of revelry. Twins are brought-in to roam the hallways, and “Danny” can be found riding his Big Wheel through the dining room.  Lodge employees aren’’t exempt from the theme, either: the main players are dressed in appropriate costume, and it’s highly suggested to work movie quotes into natural dialogue throughout the evening (ie, BARTENDER: “”Your money’’s no good here, Mr. Torrence.””).

A slightly older Danny rides down the hall… More pictures, history, and a freak accident after the jump.

Danny and the “twins.”

Let’s hope the doors are complimentary with the party…

All fun aside, the mountain can be a pretty dangerous place.  In the last century, over 130 lives have been lost on Hood, including one of the nation’’s worst climbing disasters in 1986. Also, on a more macabre note, cult classic Omega Man director Boris Sagal was killed in Timberline’’s parking lot when he accidentally walked into the rotor blades of a helicopter, nearly decapitating him!

In spite of all the cinematic posturing, freak accidents, and Mother Nature’’s unpredictability, the building itself has a relatively bloodless history.  The Lodge’’s construction was completed in fewer than 15 months, and not a single worker died or suffered a serious injury.

Next time you’re in the area, go get your Shining fix: take a picture with the axe from the movie, try out your best Shelly Duvaull impression, and pull your stir-crazy self together with help from a Spanish Coffee at The Ram’s Head Bar.

You know what they say “All work and no play…”

Happy Halloween!

For more of Sarah’s stellar writing check her Atlas profile, her tumblr blog, and for her fantastic photography her Etsy store.