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The First Years
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Infancy, new businesses in a new park. 1899 -1909


- President William McKinley signs the document creating Mount Rainier National Park on March 2, 1899.


- The Longmires, pioneer family that developed Longmire’s Springs "erect an inn, barn, two bath houses, one storehouse and two small shacks" on their mineral claim.


- Grenville F. Allen (Mount Rainier Forest Reserve Supervisor) becomes the first superintendent of the new park when Secretary of the Interior Ethan A. Hitchcock adds that duty to his national forest responsibilities.


- The Longmire Hotel is expanded to a total of 12 guest rooms and a capacity of 30 guests. Tents are erected behind it to take care of overflow of visitors.


- John Reese expands his tent camp above Paradise valley. By summer he runs a "tent hotel" comprising of eight tents. He charges guests $2 per day or $10 a week for basic accommodations. Mountain guides are furnished at extra expense.


- Eugene Ricksecker, Corps of Engineers, moves his "construction camp" to Longmire Springs and builds a cabin to be used as an office. The first contract for construction of the new "Government road" from the park boundary to Paradise is awarded to A. D. Miller.
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- The Longmire family faces their first competition when the Tacoma Eastern Railroad (subsidiary of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railway) is granted a lease and permission to build a new hotel, the National Park Inn, adjacent to the Longmire’s private property. Robert Longmire opens a saloon, but it is quickly closed by acting Superintendent Allen.


- Repairs to the old road into Longmire Springs are made by railroad workmen. Their National Park Inn (still unfinished) opens to guests on the first of July. A total of 60 guests are given rooms in the hotel and 75 more have tents to sleep in. It is a bit more expensive than the rustic Longmire Hotel.


- Ricksecker and the Corps of Engineers are given full responsibility for construction of the much needed Government road when the private contractor defaults. He quickly hires a crew from Tacoma and the area around Mount Rainier. His workmen complete basic construction from the park boundary to Longmire Springs. The first auto enters the park.


- The first annual automobile permits for MRNP are sold 7/24/1908 for a fee of $5 per year. A total of 117 permits are issued that year. Autos are not allowed beyond Longmire, although wagons could go as far as the Nisqually Glacier by late summer.      
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- George B. Hall runs a livery business at Longmire Springs. He builds an 80 foot barn, 100 foot shed, residences and storage buildings on his leased property (the area on which the current Longmire Administration Building resides).

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