Monday, January 07, 2019

Glacier Park Lodge was built by The Great Northern Railway Company, to drive destination passenger business to the predominantly freight lines.

 Swiss Chalet; National Park Rustic "Parkitecture" based on the Forestry Building at the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland, OR.
Lobby floorplan is modeled on a Christian basilica.

Lobby built with 60 Douglas Fir tree trunks, each 40' tall and 3' or more in diameter.

Construction begins, 1910
Construction completed, 1912
Lodge opens with 61 rooms, 1913
Expansion; "Annex" provides additional 111 rooms, 1916

To appreciate the Glacier Park Lodge requires an understanding of its history and original purpose. During the early 1900s, Louis Hill, President of Great Northern Railway, sought to establish the Glacier area as a National Park. His purpose was two-fold; in the first place he was a champion for protecting and preserving a region he was passionate about. In the second, he wanted to drive destination passenger business to his predominantly freight lines.

Glacier Park Lodge was undersized almost as soon as it opened. Overwhelming popularity demanded more rooms, and the 111-room "annex" was built within two years. A native American teepee village became an added attraction; guests enjoyed croquet, lawn tennis, archery, horseback riding and other pursuits right on the grounds. Many played golf, even prior to the construction of the 9-hole course in 1927. To the railway's surprise, the intended stage stop and transient hotel was a destination resort almost as soon as it opened.

The important thing to note here is that this structure is just about a century old, and the comfort levels expected by rail travelers in 1913 were minimal by today's standards. Again, it was intended as a stopover hotel for rail travelers to spend perhaps a night before moving on to the chalets.

Guest rooms are quirky, with exposed pipes and shower facilities that have been shoe-horned in. Keep in mind that hotel guests a century ago understood that they would use shared shower facilities down the hall.

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