The mission of the National Park Service is to protect our nation’s natural and cultural resources for this and future generations. Sometimes, the natural and cultural come together. Such is the case here in the Upper Geyser Basin. It is impossible to walk around this basin without noticing the Old Faithful Inn and the cultural history that comes with it.
Construction of the Inn began in the spring of 1903 and the building opened on June 1, 1904. The Old Faithful Inn was the brainchild of park concessionaire Harry Child and architect Robert Reamer. The funding for the project came from the Northern Pacific Railroad.
These logs came from locally grown lodgepole pines. Rhyolite, a volcanic rock that is abundant in Yellowstone, was used for this foundation, as well as the huge fireplace in the lobby. The design style became known as Parkitecture and would later be used throughout our national parks.
Today, just as in the past, when visitors walk through the red front doors and into the Old Faithful Inn they all do the same thing, they look up. The lobby reaches some 77 feet towards the sky. Balconies, which are still arranged with historic furniture, enable quests to scan the lobby floor below.
The Inn was built in three stages. The “Old House,” first, followed by the “East Wing,” in 1913 and then the “West Wing” in 1927. Recent renovations returned the Old House to its original form.
For millions of people that have visited the Old Faithful Inn, and the thousands that have worked within these walls, the mere mention of the Inn brings chills down the spine. This grand old lady is ready to welcome future generations to the world’s first national park.