shelley@alohabroadband.net                    (808) 929-7672  or  (541) 953-7085

BELKNAP SPRINGS - THE HERITAGE OF OUR COTTAGE
In 1907 my great grandfather, John Howard Haak, bought 160 acres on the river including the hot springs. He had been in timber and moved to Oregon shortly after his mill in northern Michigan burned down. His daughter, Helen Amanda Haak, married my grandfather, Frank Perry Bigelow, who later managed the property and, together with his four sons, built a hotel, dance hall, post office, bathhouse and swimming pool. My great uncle built the large columnar basalt fireplace from local stone which still stands in the Belknap Springs lodge. Eventually, my grandmother came down from the family's' Mt. Tabor home in Portland and lived in a log cabin on the hill above the lodge.
THE LAST RESORT
 In those days, before the Clear Lake Road, Belknap was truly the “last resort”
since the road ended there. My grandfather built a hydroelectric plant across the river to supply electricity to the resort. Belknap's “secret garden” is on the diverted McKenzie River channel my grandfather built for the plant. The resort, when my grandfather ran it during the 30's and 40's, was a busy place with a restaurant, bath house with deep tubs for soaking, steam rooms, a masseur, and masseuse. In 1952 my parents took over the lodge. My mother remodeled it and ran it with my brother and me until 1967.
CHILDHOOD MEMORIES
We grew up doing all the things needed to
run a busy summer resort where hundreds of people came on weekends to swim, fish, and relax. When we were not life guarding at the pool, swabbing out the dressing rooms, doing dishes, keeping the hot water running through wooden pipes or making beds, my brother and I picked blackberries for jam and guided guests to the best fishing holes.  We also climbed the hill directly across the river from the cottage on good trails and looked out at the world above our valley. My brother and cousin frequently floated the river down to Paradise campground in only their bathing suits on air mattresses.
It took the school bus over an hour to travel the 16 miles to McKenzie School in Blue River.
We coexisted with wildlife and nature on a daily basis. One day in the winter
when my mother was alone in the lodge, a bear tried to get in the French doors on the patio. Another time, behind her log cabin, my grandmother screamed and scared away a cougar which had its jaws clamped onto one of her dogs. In 1964, the great winter flood took out three bridges on the property including the foot bridge to the hot springs. It was not replaced until recently.
END OF AN ERA
After my brother and I started college, my mother sold the lodge. She kept the hot springs and
property on both sides of the river downstream from the lodge. The water from the main spring is now piped across the rebuilt bridge at the lodge and underground to the cottage.
A DREAM REALIZED FOR YOU TO SHARE
I am now the only member of my extended family with any interest in Belknap Springs land. It had always been my dream to build a home on the banks of the McKenzie and in 1989 it became a reality. The gardens and house are an ongoing project. Although I don't know if the hot water has the curative powers touted for it by my grandfather in the brochure from the 1930's, I do know that soaking in it still makes one feel great.
You can decide for yourself when you relax in the hot tub.


This is the brochure for Belknap Lodge from the time of my Grandfather.

Historical photos courtesy Lane County Historical Society

shelley@alohabroadband.net                  (808) 929-7672  or  (541) 953-7085