Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn
The Old Faithful Inn provides a glimpse into the Park’s past and the creation of the jewel that is Yellowstone…The building was constructed by the Great Northern Pacific railroad – construction carried out over 1903-1904 – to attract wealthy visitors who demanded good lodging.
Using locally-obtained materials, the building was designed to emulate rustic camps of the Adirondacks.
The inn’s architect was 29-year-old Robert Reamer, an architect for the Yellowstone Park Company – who was affiliated with the Great Northern Pacific Railroad. The building was placed is 90 degrees to Old Faithful, providing a view of the geyser framed by the entrance porch for arriving visitors.
A visitor climbing the front steps of the structure is presented with a framed view of Old Faithful geyser. With its spectacular lodgepole log and limb lobby and rhyolite stone fireplace, the Old Faithful Inn (OFI) is an example of the “Golden Age” of rustic resort architecture also known as National Park Service Rustic. It is one of the few log hotels still standing in the United States and one of the first of the great park lodges of the American west.
We attended a Docent lead tour through the building, providing a brief history of the structure as we toured the lobby and second floor
Stairs ascend from the second balcony to a platform in the framing known as the “crow’s nest” – once was used by musicians to entertain guests.
Today the Crow’s Nest is used only by Inn Staff to raise and lower the flags on the roof.
Look at the size of those Lodgepole Log support beams!
Original ironwork can be found throughout the building – an ironwork clock decorates the north face of the upper chimney in the lobby. Custom ironwork also found on the main entrance door – along with the clock found on the fireplace was forged at the site.
The first Bear Pit Bar featured carved and inlaid wood panels with scenes involving bears. When the lounge was converted to a coffee shop, the lounge was relocated to the dining room extension and the panels were replicated in etched glass in 1988. Some of the original panels are still in the building.
The original cost of the Inn was about $140,000 – today’s cost would be ~$13.4M. OFI is a stunning example of Rustic Resort Architecture – and a great visit.