Harry Truman's Mt. St. Helens Lodge Photograph Collection, 1940-1950

Overview of the Collection

Harry Truman's Mt. St. Helens Lodge Photograph Collection
1940-1950 (inclusive)
27 photographic prints (1 folder)
Collection Number
Photographs depicting tourist activities at Harry Truman's Mt. St. Helens Lodge in the 1940s to 1950s.
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2065431929
Fax: 2065431931
Access Restrictions

Selections from the collection can be viewed on the Libraries' Digital Collections website. Permission of Visual Materials Curator is required to view originals. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was partially provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

Mt. St. Helens is a volcanic peak in the Cascade Range located in southwestern Washington State. This collection documents various tourist activities in the late 1940s and early 1950s at Mt. St. Helens Lodge, a resort owned by Harry Truman on Spirit Lake near the volcano. Born in West Virginia in 1896, Truman came to Washington and started logging, hunting, and farming. He served in World War I and was a bootlegger during Prohibition. Truman brought his family to Spirit Lake in 1926 and started a log-cabin grocery, gas station, and small boat rental. The main lodge was built in 1939 and was very popular, especially on summer weekends. Tourist activities included boating, fishing, camping, swimming, and hiking. Truman eventually owned 54 acres of land as well as the resort, and had 100 boats for rent on the lake. In 1980, Mt. St. Helens began acting up after being dormant since 1857. In the evacuations that took place before the eruption, Truman refused to leave his lodge and became popular with the press. The mountain erupted on May 18, 1980, one of the most violent eruptions ever recorded in North America. Truman was killed in the blast.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of photographs which document various tourist activities associated with Harry Truman's Mt. St. Helens Lodge at Spirit Lake. Includes scenic views of Mt. St. Helens from Spirit Lake, Mt. St. Helens Lodge, swimming, and camping. The photos appear to be from the late 1940s to 1950s.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Source: Fairlook Antiques, 2003.

Processing Note

Processed by Connie Petlitzer, 2004.


Rosen, Shirley. Truman of St. Helens: the Man and his Mountain (Madrona Publishers, 1981).

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
1 1-3 People near Mt. St. Helens Lodge sign between 1940 and 1950
1 4 Mt. St. Helens Lodge between 1940 and 1950
1 5 Tourists on steps of Spirit Lake Lodge
Possibly a different lodge at Spirit Lake.
between 1940 and 1950
1 6 Group in snow by roadside between 1940 and 1950
1 7-10 Group and campsite along river between 1940 and 1950
1 11-12 Water slide and children swimming in lake between 1940 and 1950
1 13 Group on lodge bench, Mt. St. Helens in background (man photographing the photographer) between 1940 and 1950
1 14 Group on lodge bench, Mt. St. Helens in background between 1940 and 1950
1 15-16 Mt. St. Helens and Spirit Lake from lodge between 1940 and 1950
1 17-26 Mt. St. Helens from Spirit Lake between 1940 and 1950
1 27 Mt. St. Helens from road between 1940 and 1950

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Mountains--Washington (State)--Photographs
  • Outdoor recreation--Washington (State)--Spirit Lake Region--Photographs
  • Resorts--Washington (State)--Spirit Lake Region--Photographs
  • Tourists--Washington (State)--Spirit Lake Region--Photographs
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)

Personal Names

  • Truman, Harry, 1896-1980

Corporate Names

  • Mt. St. Helen's Lodge (Spirit Lake, Wash.)

Geographical Names

  • Saint Helens, Mount (Wash.)--Photographs
  • Spirit Lake (Wash.)--Photographs