|Mount Storm King across Lake Crescent.|
This is unfortunate since this beautiful body of water has played such a large role in making Clallam County what it is today.
There are two theories on exactly how Lake Crescent was formed. Either by the Cordilleran Ice Sheet that covered the area until about 14,000 years ago or by a landslide sent from the top of Mount Storm King by the evil giant Seatco that ended a three day battle between the Clallam and the Quileute and dammed the Lyre River forming Lake Crescent.
It was said to remain uninhabited, haunted by Seatco until 1849, when two Hudson Bay trappers paddled their canoe from Victoria, across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Crescent Beach. From there they worked south into the foothills of the Olympics where they discovered Lake Crescent.
Trappers are generally secretive. They don't want to give away their best hunting ground. Lake Crescent remained largely undiscovered until the summer of 1895 when the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet under the command of Rear Adm. Leslie A. Beardslee dropped anchor in Port Angeles harbor.
What was an isolated frontier town welcomed the Navy with open arms.
Beardslee was a known fisherman. Wanting to make a good impression the city fathers wisely took the admiral on a fishing trip to Lake Crescent where he caught 350 trout in one day! The admiral spent so much time fishing at Lake Crescent they named a trout after him.
The Beardslee trout and the Crescenti, named after the lake, are unique species that occur only in Lake Crescent.
E.B. Webster in his classic book, Fishing in the Olympics, describes the Beardslee striking a lure at 25 mph, peeling hundreds of feet of line while jumping six or seven feet in the air. Webster saw a fight between a Tacoma angler with light tackle and an 11-pound Beardslee that lasted for three hours and 45 minutes!
Eventually, a dozen fishing resorts popped up around the shores of Lake Crescent trying to catch the admiral's fish.
In 1912 Dr. Louis Dechman built a health spa resort on the North Shore of the lake called, “Eugenika, Goddess of the Better Race Sanatorium and Biological Institution.” The name was later shortened to “Qui Si Sana, Here is Health.”
Dr. Dechman was a promoter who claimed he could cure influenza, tuberculosis and childhood paralysis. Some of the locals said he cured bored housewives with something called bio-therapy. This involved the complex process of ‘cleansing the blood,’ whatever that meant.
English writer Fitzherbert Leather described the strenuous health regime at Qui Si Sana, breathing plenty of ozone rich air with seven course gourmet meals and fine wines served in the luxurious main hall and healthful walks through the fabulous gardens and orchards filled with statues exhibiting themes of breast feeding and female pulchritude at its finest.
Sadly, Qui Si Sana did not last. Only two of the historic Lake Crescent resorts survive to the present. Lake Crescent Lodge was originally Singer’s Tavern. That's where President Franklin Roosevelt stayed when he toured the Olympic Peninsula in 1937 to consider the creation of Olympic National Park.
In 1938 the Park was dedicated at the nearby Rosemary Inn, which has been restored as the Olympic Park Institute. Lake Crescent is not only a beautiful place, it has a lot of history for such a small area which makes it a great place to take a visitor.