National Park, City Playground
Mount Rainier in the Twentieth Century
From the late nineteenth century to the present, park service representatives and other officials have created policies, built roads and hotels, and regulated public use of and access to Mount Rainier. Conflicting interests have shaped the decision-making process and characterized human interaction with the park. The Rainier National Park Company promoted Paradise Inn as a destination resort for East Coast tourists; Cooperative Campers of the Pacific Northwest developed backcountry camps for working-class recreationists; Asahel Curtis of the Good Roads Association wanted a road encircling the mountain; The Mountaineers promoted free public campgrounds and a roadless preserve; others focused on managing and protecting the upper mountain. The National Park Service mediated among the various parties while developing their own master plan for the park.
In an engaging and accessible style, historian Theodore Catton tells the story of Mount Rainier, examining the controversies and compromises that have shaped one of America's most beautiful and beloved parks. National Park, City Playground reminds us that the way we manage our wilderness areas is a vital concern not only for the National Park Service, but for all citizens.
About the Author
"Drawing on a wide-ranging and comprehensive collection of primary and secondary sources, Catton has given full treatment to the political wrangling, legislation, and policies that resulted in the ever-changing functions of Mount Rainier National Park. . . . The book is certainly one of the most informative and enjoyable books on the topic."—Pacific Northwest Quarterly
"Theodore Catton's deft new book charts how the creation of Mount Rainier National Park was inseparable from the citizens of the two cities that laid claim to the mountain and made it their own. . . . The result is a model of shrewd scholarship that future parks historians might emulate. . . .His book reminds us that the looming heights of 'the Mountain,' as Seattleites and Tacomans call the peak, speak to a complex history that environmentalists and historians would both do well to remember."—Western Historical Quarterly
"The author does an excellent job of contextualizing Mount Rainier within the larger history of the national park system and the political economic history of the United States, and he carefully follows the thread of local influence on park development. Perhaps most usefully, Catton provides a means by which readers can understand the park in its current form."—Oregon Historical Quarterly
"Catton delivers an insightful book with a comprehensive bibliography highlighted by a host of manuscript collections. Mount Rainier aficionados will want to add the book to their collections. . . . His synthesis. . . is both edifying and thorough."—Columbia Magazine
"Catton's National Park, City Playground offers an excellent example of the disappearing boundary between public and academic history. . . . Catton is at the vanguard of the new generation of historians whose work is bridging the divide between public history and academic scholarship. I highly recommend this work as a fine example of what public history can accomplish."—Montana: The Magazine of Western History
"This is a superb book, a real gem, which should be required reading by all who enjoy Mount Rainier National Park and the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington…Highly recommended."—Choice
"Readers will realize that they are part of the story of the park—whether they view the peak on the horizon, visit on weekends, stay in the park's hotels, or engage in more physically demanding activities."—David Louter, author of Windshield Wilderness: Cars, Roads, and Nature in Washington's National Parks
Other Titles in History of the Americas