Yellowstone Park’s colonial style Lake Hotel has been added to the National Registry of Historic Places. Originally built by the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1891, Robert Reamer, the architect who conceived the remarkably different Old Faithful Inn, redesigned and expanded it in 1903. The hotel has been renovated several times since then. Here’s how travel writer Thomas Murray’s described it in 1912.
Decidedly more conventional, but quite equal in appointment and comfort to Old Faithful Inn, is the Lake Hotel, some forty miles farther on the road. It was built but a few years ago and is styled the Colonial on account of its massive colonnades fronting on the lake. Standing as it does in the edge of a stately pine forest and commanding a most picturesque view of the lake and mountains, its situation is a superb one.
In the woods near at hand our naturalist friend found wild strawberries and called our attention to the tiny shrubs loaded with huckleberries Here, too, a great colony of bears is often seen and at evening they congregate in a nearby open space in the woods to await the hotel garbage wagon. They are very mild, harmless mendicants, though at times they may show flashes of ill nature towards each other. They are always a great attraction for the hotel guests, some of whom are quite willing to miss a meal to watch the ungainly antics of the brutes.
The Lake Hotel is in the center of the fishing district and the devotee of the -sport will find a veritable paradise at hand. Even the novice is sure of a catch and the skilled fisherman almost deprecates the eagerness of the Yellowstone Lake trout to take the bait. The most favored fishing grounds are near the outlet of the lake, though one is sure of success almost everywhere. The principal catch is lake trout, some of which attain considerable size.
The tourist with several days at his disposal in the Park and who prefers the convenience of the hotel to camping, will no doubt give the greater portion of his time to the Colonial.
- Text from Thomas D. Murray, Three Wonderlands of the American West. The Page Company: Boston, 1912. Pp. 14-15.
- Frank J. Haynes Postcard, Yellowstone Digital Slide File.
- To find stories about bears, click on “Bears” under the Categories button to the left.
- You might be interesting in Ernest Thompson Seton’s story about a bear fight at the Fountain Hotel dump.