Man in Glacier
NPS Arrowhead logo


During the summer of 1974, a friend and I followed the trace of an old trail winding through the heart of Glacier's back country which eventually traveled up a steep slope paralleling Cattle Queen Creek. With a copy of a 1910 map in our hands, we hoped to find the remains of three cabins marked on the old map, as well as the famous Cattle Queen Mine which had been deserted some seventy or eighty years before. After we had spent nearly half a day "bucking the brush" and "beating the bushes," the only physical evidence of history we were able to find was an occasional blazed tree and a footpath which began to look more like an animal trail. The tangle of alder and shrubs had hidden or obliterated whatever cabins or other human development the optimistic prospectors had constructed. The only trace of the past remaining that day was the copy of the old map in our hands, Cattle Queen Creek (named for the mine's owner) which ran nearby, and our belief that we were in the correct historic location.

In Glacier National Park, remains of the past are not always as difficult to locate. Old snowshoe cabins and ranger stations can be found in many parts of the park; a few old homesteads, including their houses, fences, and outbuildings can still be found; exploration shafts as well as mines, along with the miners' cabins, recall the mining era, just as rusting oil rigs mark that transitory search; the Swiss-type architecture of the huge park hotels, chalets, and lodges reminds the viewer of a grandeur and style no longer used in contemporary buildings. All of these relics remain as monuments to the people who lived and worked in Glacier and associated this mountainous region with their personal concept of "utopia," success, and adventure. Only a small group of people ever settled within today's Glacier Park; even fewer people could be classified as "explorers" of the region; and the number of people active in insuring Glacier's preservation is even smaller.

But all of the people who have been associated with Glacier, including the million or more annual visitors, left an impact upon Glacier which the student of history can detect. Whether an Indian, explorer, miner, settler, visitor, or Park Service employee, each individual brought with him certain expectations concerning the region, took what he wanted, and left some evidence of his presence. People's reactions to the natural features of Glacier provide the subject matter for this book. Many of the Native American visits and attachments to Glacier remain primarily supposition, for much of their story is the creation of a few twentieth-century writers' imaginations. Early explorers seemed to be looking for objectives near and around these mountains, but they did not head automatically to Logan Pass or Lake McDonald to become entranced by the scenic wonders which concerned the conservationists. What people have expected of these mountains, the activities of some individuals while there, what they left behind together with their lasting impact upon Glacier National Park, then, is the subject of this interpretive history.

This treatise does not pretend to be an exhaustive or comprehensive history of Glacier Park. It is intended to inform and to entertain. I have knowingly left out many details, including people's names, dates, and events in order to relate the history of this magnificent park as I interpret it. This is the history of Glacier based upon documented fact, but it is not merely the chronological account of what happened. If you are concerned about how Logan Pass got its name, you will not find the answer here. Instead, you will read about the role and impact of Superintendent Logan.

At the end of the volume the reader will find a list of books by Chapter which have helped me reach my various conclusions. To gain the gratitude of the casual reader, for whom this volume is intended, I have not used footnotes, but I realize that this may engender everlasting consternation among future historians.

Many original documents such as magazine articles, government documents, personal correspondence, and especially the materials of the Glacier National Park Historical Collections, were extensively used in the research for this volume but are not reflected in the list For Further Reading: A Selected Bibliography. Many newspapers were consulted—especially the Hungry Horse News of Columbia Falls, the Daily Inter Lake of Kalispell, and the Missoulian of Missoula, Montana.


May 1976
Littleton, Colorado

"And we didn't even need reservations!" (Courtesy Glacier National Park Historical Collection)


Man in Glacier
©1976, Glacier Natural History Association
buchholtz/intro.htm — 28-Feb-2006

Copyright © 1976 Glacier Natural History Association. All rights reserved. Material from this edition may not be reproduced in any manner without the written consent of the author and publisher.