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The Obsidians' renovated lodge ready for show and tell
The Register-Guard

Published: Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Eugene area's oldest and largest outdoor recreation club will mark another milestone Saturday. (Corrected to: Sunday, April 1- jwj)

The Obsidians will celebrate the renovation and expansion of their lodge in the hills of southeast Eugene with an open house from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. A dedication program is scheduled for 2 p.m.

The Obsidian Lodge is a rustic two-story building located on a 4.5-acre tract tucked in the woods off Spring Boulevard near Essex Street, above Laurelwood Golf Course.

The Obsidians are one of the few outdoor recreation clubs in the state to own their own building,

Formed in 1927 as primarily a mountain climbing organization, The Obsidians now have in excess of 500 members. The club organizes outings year-round, including everything from simple walks, bike rides and bus trips to strenuous backpacking, skiing and climbing expeditions. Most outings are open to non-members.

The Obsidian Lodge was originally dedicated in May of 1963. Forty-one years later, the discovery of extensive dry rot in the walls of the entryway triggered planning for the remodeling project.

The $174,300 project included adding 350 square feet of space, replacement of the entry-way, restroom and parking upgrades to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards, and improved heating, insulation and lighting. Walls were moved to expand the "Great Room," and repairs and improvements were made to the 30-foot high climbing wall dedicated to Mark McLaughlin and Jerry Clark, Obsidians who died in 1967 while climbing Mt. McKinley.

The major work was done by 2G Construction, but club members pitched in about 1,800 hours of volunteer time, saving about $35,000, according to John Jacobsen, chairman of the Construction Committee.

Club members donated $75,070 during a fund-raising campaign for the renovation. The remainder came from club reserves or was borrowed from the club's endowment fund.

"The club rose to the occasion," Jacobsen said. "All sorts of people stepped forward to make it come to pass."

The lodge's out-of-the-way location seems appropriate for an outdoor club.

"It's an interesting place in that it's within the city limits, but you'd think you were out in the forest someplace," said Jacobsen, a former Obsidian President who notes that "some route-finding skills" are required to visit the lodge.

The driving directions are as follows: Go to 27th Avenue and Spring Boulevard, then turn south on Spring Boulevard for approximately two blocks. Just after Essex Street turns left, Spring Boulevard dead-ends at a private gravel driveway. Turn left there, and look for The Obsidians sign and driveway to the right. Follow the driveway to the parking area and lodge.

(A map is available by logging on to www.obsidians.org and clicking on the "contacts" page; a link to the map is at the bottom of that page.)