During the last half of the nineteenth century, America’s skyrocketing industrial output led to ever higher demand for raw materials. In the old world, the prevailing attitude surrounding environmental exploitation had been excavate first, ask questions later. Americans, however, saw things differently. As the extraordinary ecosystems & natural wonders of the American West began to disappear, momentum gained for setting aside the environmentally extraordinary. Yellowstone, designated by Ulysses S. Grant in 1872, became the first protected marvel & the first National Park. Yellowstone National Park possessed over 1,000 geysers, a grand canyon, hot springs, & myriad of other spectacular sights which made it a must see destination for Victorian Tourists. But where to stay in this geological wonderland?
Initially, guests slept rough and ready in no frills frame dormitories which called themselves “hotels”. All that changed when the Northern Pacific Railroad undertook a capital campaign to provide the park & its visitors with first class accommodation. Of the new hotels, the most spectacular was the Old Faithful Inn. Designed by 29 year old architect Robert Reamer in 1903, the Old Faithful Inn would outshine even it’s namesake geyser. With its vast, sloping roof, ornate timberwork, & quirky field stone accents, the Inn rose up from the geyser basin like a man made mountain of pine. Inside, its interior was no less impressive. Upon entering, visitors were greeted by an expansive 92 foot high lobby & every other amenity an upper middle class Victorian traveler might desire.
Despite changing tastes, the ravages of time, & being hit rocked by several serious earthquakes, Yellowstone’s incredible Old Faithful Inn still dazzles. Best part? That 92 foot high expanse of trusses!
More information on the Old Faithful Inn here.
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