itle>Old Faithful Inn

Old Faithful Inn

Nothing is created in isolation. Some things are the start of something else. Do these statements relate to the Old Faithful Inn?

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Old Faithful Inn

Here are the front doors to the iconic Old Faithful Inn. Through these doors, you step back in time. This rustic building is the start of parkitecture. A form of architecture that blends with the surrounding landscape. Parkitecture is built by hand using native materials and natural whole logs. Old Faithful marks the start of this style of architecture. One thing: look behind the left-hand door. There, you will find the giant skeleton key to lock the door.

A trip highlight that you will remember forever is visiting the Old Faithful Inn located in the Upper Geyser Basin. This iconic building is where Parkitecture was born. Parkitecture is a form of architecture that blends with the surrounding landscape. The building is built by hand using native materials and natural whole logs.

On May 28, 1903, the Department of the Interior approved the design and building of the Old Faithful Inn. Today, we refer to the part built in 1903 as the Old House. That is the part of the building that has the A-frame roof. Builders started in late May of 1903. Guests started using the Inn on June 1, 1904.

A guest would pay $4 for a room. No bathrooms were in the room, so everyone had to go down the hall for showers and toilets. Meals were served family style.

Crow's nest in the Old Faithful Inn

The Crow's Nest in the Old Faithful Inn. During the Inn's early years, musicians would play during supper from the second-floor balcony. Then, on many nights, they would move their musical instruments to the Crow's Nest to play so the guests could dance in the lobby.

Old Faithful Inn fireplace

The Old Faithful Inn fireplace. This massive 8-hearth fireplace was damaged in the 1959 deadly earthquake. It was repaired and reopened in 2012.

If you failed to arrive on time, you would have to knock on the door to be allowed in at the end of the day. The Inn was only accessible to those with reservations at the beginning of its history. Now, everyone is welcome to come in and view this beautiful building.

A massive log structure greets you, whether you enter through the red doors in front or any other Old House doors. The Old House can overwhelm you while wrapping you in its color's warmth and simultaneously excited chatter.

A person entering the building will be slack-jawed, figuring out where to look first. What would you see first? The seven-story lobby, 92 feet? The five hundred short-ton, eight-hearth, volcanic rhyolite rock fireplace? Robert Reimer's, the architect, massive clock on the fireplace? The two balconies of lodgepole pine decorated balustrades? The crow's nest 76 feet in the air?

My advice. Just drink in the sights and enjoy the time. Feel free to take advantage of one of the four tours given in the summer. Take 45 minutes, slip back in time, and learn about this critical building of Yellowstone.

Mr. Reimer built the Old House's first floor with load-bearing logs on which they left the bark. After much complaining from housekeeping, the staff removed the bark while the Inn was closed during WWII. Imagine the dust build-up!

I spent three seasons working in the gift shop in the Inn. One season, we helped with housekeeping. I spent quality time polishing the wood stairwells, balconies, railings, and balustrades with Old English. I encourage you to take a close look at the wood. After the staff removed the bark, the travels of insects of the past were exposed, adding to the charm of the building.

Robert Reimer was a 29-year-old Ohio man who built the Old Faithful Inn. He would work on close to thirty projects within the park. Reimer returned to the Inn to add the wings to the building in 1913, East Wing, and 1927, West Wing. In 1936, he would design the Bear Pit Lounge. In 1903, he also drew up plans to add to what we now call the Lower General Store, adding the knotted wood on the east porch.

Balconies of the Old Faithful Inn

Robert Reimer, the architect, was responsible for pairing the branches so they complimented the building's design and his aesthetics.

The building of the iconic Old Faithful Inn started in 1903, making that time a crucial growth in the park's infrastructure. The Wright Brothers would end that year with a world-changing event. They completed four power flights of a heavier-than-air flying machine on December 17, 1903. The world hasn't been the same since. Both events will never be forgotten and will always bring pleasure to many people.

I encourage you to read two articles in Yellowstone Science, one on the Old Faithful Inn by Karen Reinhart. Ruth Quinn wrote the second article on the architect Robert C. Reamer. You can find both articles here, starting on page 5.

Old Faithrul Inn taken from Geyser Hill

The view of Old Faithful Inn was taken from Geyser Hill. The people in the foreground are standing in front of Blue Star Spring. The colorful colors coming down the hill are from thermophiles that live in the hot water.

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