Old Faithful Area Historic Highlights
Old Faithful Historic District
This designation applies to the developed area adjacent to Old Faithful Geyser, which contains many historic structures.
Old Faithful Inn
Built during the winter of 1903-04, the Old Faithful Inn was designed by Robert C. Reamer, who wanted the asymmetry of the building to reflect the chaos of nature.
The Old Faithful Inn is one of the few remaining log hotels in the United States. It is a masterpiece of rustic architecture in its stylized design and fine craftsmanship. Its influence on American architecture, particularly park architecture, was immeasurable. The building is a rustic log and wood-frame structure with gigantic proportions: nearly 700 feet in length and seven stories high.
The lobby of the hotel features a 65-foot ceiling, a massive rhyolite fireplace, and railings made of contorted lodgepole pine. Its incredibly large space can be experienced on many different levels and from many different vantage points. The visitor can stand in the middle of the lobby and look up at the exposed structure, or climb up a gnarled log staircase to one of the balconies and look up, down, or across. Wings were added to the hotel in 1915 and 1927, and today there are 327 rooms available to guests in this National Historic Landmark.
The inn is currently operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts. Information regarding reservation procedures is available through their website.
Old Faithful Lodge
Unlike the Inn, the current Old Faithful Lodge is a result of numerous changes dating back to the early days of tent camps provided by companies like Shaw and Powell Camping Company and Wylie Permanent Camping Company. These camps were erected throughout the park and offered shelter before hotels and lodges were built. Both companies had facilities at Old Faithful. By 1917, auto traffic into the park was increasing, and it was decided that some camps could be eliminated. Yellowstone Park Camping Company emerged and operated on the old site of the Shaw and Powell camp, the present day site of the Lodge. In 1918, a laundry was built on the site and construction continued on the facility until 1928 when the Lodge reached its present configuration.
Cabin-style accommodations are available at Old Faithful Lodge. Often confused with the other two hotels in the area, Old Faithful Lodge houses a cafeteria, gift shop, coffee shop, and the front desk where guests check in.
The lodge is currently operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts. Information regarding reservation procedures is available through their website.
Lower Hamilton Store
Built in 1897, this is the oldest structure in the Old Faithful area still in use. The "knotty pine" porch is a popular resting place for visitors, providing a great view of Geyser Hill. (The oldest building at Old Faithful was built as a photo studio in 1897 for F. Jay Haynes. Originally located 700 feet southwest of Beehive Geyser and about 350 feet northwest of the front of the Old Faithful Inn, it now stands near the intersection of the Grand Loop Road and the fire lane, near the crosswalk.)
Nez Perce Creek Wayside
This exhibit tells the story of the flight of the Nez Perce through Yellowstone in 1877. A band of 700 men, women, and children entered the park on the evening of August 23rd, fleeing 600 Army regulars commanded by General O.O. Howard. The Nez Perce had been told to leave their homeland and move to a reservation. They fled their ancestral home in the Wallowa Valley in northeastern Oregon on June 17, 1877, and by the time they entered the park, several battles, including a fight at Big Hole (another NPS site), had occurred.
During the two weeks they were in the park, the Nez Perce bumped into all 25 known people visiting the new park at that time, some more than once. Camps were plundered, hostages taken, and several people were killed or wounded.
After leaving the park, the Nez Perce tried reaching the Canadian border but were stopped by General Nelson Miles, who had reinforced General Howard's command. Some Nez Perce were able to slip into Canada, but the remaining 350 tribal members led by Chief Joseph surrendered to General Miles. This is where Chief Joseph gave his famous speech, "I will fight no more forever." The 1,700-mile flight that included Yellowstone National Park had come to an end. Today, Nez Perce Creek and the nearby wayside exhibit are reminders of their visit.
Howard Eaton Trail
Named for an early park outfitter and guide, the Howard Eaton Trail paralleled the Grand Loop Road in many places. Remnants of this old horse trail are maintained and used by hikers today. Here in the Old Faithful District, the trail provides a less traveled route to Lone Star Geyser from the developed area.
Did You Know?
Prior to the establishment of the National Park Service, the U.S. Army protected Yellowstone between 1886 and 1918. Fort Yellowstone was established at Mammoth Hot Springs for that purpose.