Crater Lake's Munson Valley Named after Ill-Fated Physician
The Crater Lake National Park headquarters is nestled in a deep depression known as Munson Valley. Other features of the park include Munson Springs, Munson Creek, Munson Point and Munson Ridge, all named for a physician who died while climbing a steep slope to the lake’s rim on Aug. 17, 1871.
The doctor, P.C. Munson, was attached to the government agency on the Klamath Indian Reservation some 20 miles south of the lake when he joined a party hosting Sir William F. Maxwell, a visiting Scottish nobleman. Maxwell wanted to see for himself if the newly discovered Crater Lake measured up to fantastic newspaper descriptions he had read. As Maxwell and another visitor reached the lake’s rim, they realized the doctor had not kept up with them. They found his body on the slope below the rim. Maxwell stayed overnight with the remains while his companion sought help to remove the body. Munson was 55 years old when he died. He was initially buried at the Fort Klamath Cemetery, but later moved to the San Francisco National Cemetery. He left the world unaware that much of the area where he died would be named for him.
Source: Ashland Tidings 28 Apr. 1893: 4. Print; "Crater Lake." Oregon Out of Doors. N.p., June 1922. Web. 16 Nov. 2013. Transcript From Records of Interments at Fort Klamath, Oregon, National Archives; "P C Munson." Find a Grave. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.