Monday, June 29, 2015

"See America First"

As promised, a roundup of the 4 historic Glacier National Park lodges, designed 100 years ago, plus a short stop at Issak Walton Inn, just outside the park boundaries.

Glacier Park and Prince of Wales were planned in the teens after the park opened in 1910, but building was delayed because of WWI. 

Many Glacier
This hotel celebrates its centenary this Saturday, July 4, 2015. 

I was sorry to miss the Hootenanny. 

Guests gather in the lobby in search of mostly non-existent wifi. The view's not bad either. We listened to a very talented pianist. 

To distract modern guests from the fact that there's no TV in the room, the hotel thoughtfully puts out half-finished jigsaw puzzles. I can imagine really enjoying this in other months when it's not light until 11. 
Swiss touches are everywhere. James Hill hired two famous architects to design Many Glacier. Early guests were transported in carriages and enjoyed five-course meals. 

Glacier Park
Totems from the Pacific Northwest welcomed guests arriving by train, typically from the east. Luxury lodges competed with cruises to Europe in that era. James Hill responded with an ad campaign encouraging travelers to "See America First." 
Unlike the trees in the Many Glacier lobby, bark on these trees was left intact, perhaps because it's literally across from the East Glacier train depot. 

This Chickering baby grand is 100 years old. I grew up with a similar piano in my grandparents' house, now in my uncle and aunt's living room. 

Compulsory mounted animal heads.




Prince of Wales
Across the border in Waterton, another castle.

Here's a closer look:




Another huge atrium and chandelier.
And don't forget the Scottish theme, complete with men and women in tartan plaid kilts.


Lake McDonald Lodge
The first lodge I visited a week ago. It reminded me of one of the mansions on the shores of Lake Tahoe.

More Native-American influences in these charming lanterns.

Compulsory animal heads. Today there are signs warning you not to take antlers (or hunt) within the park boundaries.

Isaak Walton
This lodge in Essex is known for cross-country skiing. 

Plus you can sleep in a caboose. 
Great Northern trains stop right outside your door. Oh, that's the door to your room.
Not good for light sleepers. 

One last post tomorrow, reflecting on this journey and on our heritage of National Parks.