Our History, A Family and Its Enduring Love of Nature
With all that is going on in the world, we wanted to reflect on some good memories and share a few of ours with you. We hope you’ll enjoy learning about our history as much as we enjoy sharing it!
In 1964 the proud new owners of Morrisons Lodge were in for quite the adventure! B.A. and Elaine Hanten moved to the lodge in June along with their three small children Mike, Michelle, and Mark. They came from South Dakota where they had spent time working at Yellowstone National Park. Having enjoyed their experience they were looking for a similar resort-type situation. Morrisons Lodge seemed like the perfect fit and with a major in home economics, Elaine was an excellent hostess, and her love of cooking was a delight to their guests. B.A. took to guiding and was inspired by our Wild Rogue River.
The smell of Elaine’s Famous orange sweet rolls is something you will never forget! When you come and stay with us, not only will you smell the same sweet aromas that came from Elaine’s kitchen, but you’ll also get to see the massive lodgepoles, hand-picked from the property by Mr. Morrison himself.
In December of 1964, just 5 months after they moved across the United States with their family, the rampaging Rogue River flooded and wiped out all of the cottages, which the Hantens had just begun to renovate. The water rose in the main lodge to above the mantel on the fireplace, thankfully the lodgepoles held their ground and little damage was done. However, the cottages were nothing but a pile of bricks. With the help of a disaster relief loan, they cleaned up and repaired the main lodge with a few little additions and built 3 new cottages, up on stilts this time.
B.A.’s introduction to the Wild Rogue River inspired him to invent the inflatable style raft that we use to this day. When you visit us you will see one of the original rafts designed by B.A. hanging in our rec room. Noticing room for improvement, and wanting a better experience for his guests, B.A. spearheaded the innovation of inflatables. “The reason we got into the business of making inflatable riverboats was simple. We owned a fishing lodge on the Rogue and took fishing trips in dories. We decided to start outfitting inflatable boat trips because they carried a larger load…” – B.A. Hanten. By the mid-1960’s the surplus boats were getting harder to find, and B.A. was not pleased with the rowing characteristics of the boats being produced. B.A. went to one of the West Virginia’s Rubber Fabricators and gave them drawings of a boat with a rake on both ends, and made of ripstop nylon. He had 25 boats made, and they were lightweight and rowed very well. This sparked a trend and a number of other outfitters liked the boats and got on board, buying several of these newly designed inflatable rafts.
Over the years the business grew and with its growth came more cabins, more guests, and of course more planted lawn. The raft trips started in the early ’70s, before it was fashionable in the rest of the country, and grew in popularity. When the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System was created by Congress in 1968 with the intent to preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values, the Hanten’s were in a perfect position to offer this experience. The Rogue River fell into both the Wild and Scenic classifications and became a unique destination for outdoor enthusiasts, becoming quite the attraction. Having the right boats, and permits, as well as excellent hospitality and a beautiful resort setting, Morrisons Lodge was becoming the favorite of many an adventurer.
Morrisons Lodge continues to offer the same level of adventure and hospitality to its guests that was founded by the Morrisons and then carried forward with the Hantens. Each owner has made their mark on the rich history of Morrisons Lodge and has shaped it into one of the premier destinations to explore the Wild and Scenic Rogue River!