Lake Yellowstone Hotel Kicks off NPS Centennial Summer with Celebration of 125th Anniversary and National Historic Landmark Designation
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, April 11, 2016 – As the National Park Service (NPS) celebrates its centennial, the stately Lake Yellowstone Hotel is celebrating its 125th anniversary as well as its recent designation as a National Historic Landmark.
“This milestone is especially significant when you remember that for its first quarter-century of the hotel’s operation, the National Park Service did not exist,” said Rick Hoeninghausen, director of sales and marketing for Yellowstone National Park Lodges. “The hotel has withstood the perils of wars, the Great Depression, extremely harsh natural conditions, but many people through time were committed to the successful preservation this elegant old hotel, and as a company we are proud to have played a significant role in that mission.”
Hoeninghausen said the hotel will celebrate these dual milestones on May 13 from 9:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a series of free public events including a procession of historic vehicles – including the park’s famous Yellow Buses – as well as interpretive walking tours of the hotel and short narrated driving tours of the area in historic buses.
National Historic Landmark Designation
In April 2015, Lake Yellowstone Hotel was named a National Historic Landmark, joining some 2,500 other sites across the country. The designation is presented to sites that possess the highest level of historic significance. Although there are some 90,000 places on the National Register of Historic Places, less than three percent of those sites are designated landmarks. The Colonial Revival-style hotel is also a member of the Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Known for its Colonial Revival architectural features such as large extended gables supported by 50-foot Ionic columns, Lake Yellowstone completed a two-year, $28-million in 2014. The renovation placed an emphasis sustainability – the hotel earned Green Seal certification – as well as on authentically retaining the historic character of the hotel. The renovation included major structural enhancements as well as renovations to public areas, lobby, Sun Room, dining room, rooms and suites, corridors, hotel offices, delicatessen and registration area along with the addition of a concierge desk, business center and bar.
Lake Yellowstone Hotel opened its doors in 1891, 19 years after Yellowstone National Park became the world’s first national park. The hotel took two years to build at a cost of $46,000, and it was originally a simple three-story clapboard structure with 80 guest rooms.
In 1903 and 1904 famed architect Robert Reamer oversaw a $60,000 renovation and expansion project that increased the hotel’s room count to 210 and added dormer windows on the roof, false balconies to windows and decorative oval windows.
In 1919 a port cochere was added to the front of the hotel to accommodate automobiles which were allowed into the park beginning in 1915. In 1922 and 1923 Reamer oversaw the addition of the hotel’s East Wing featuring 113 rooms and 59 bathrooms. In 1923 the tile fireplace and drinking fountain were constructed. One of the hotel’s most dramatic developments occurred in 1928 when the Sun Room – called the “Reamer Lounge” by some people – was built facing Yellowstone Lake.
The Lake Yellowstone Hotel closed for extended periods three times in its history – 1918-19 during World War I, in 1932 during the Great Depression and 1942-46 during World War II. During the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s the concession operators at the time neglected the hotel and other park buildings. As a result, the National Park Service in 1979 purchased all assets in the park that belonged to the former Yellowstone Park Company, canceled concessioner’s contract and issued a new contract to TWA Services.
TWA Services – eventually known as TW Recreational Services – spent $12.5 million over the next 10 years upgrading guest areas, back-of-the-house facilities, fire and safety systems, the foundation and other structural components.
In 1995 Xanterra Parks & Resorts – then called Amfac Parks & Resorts – acquired TW Recreational Services.
Reservations and complete details about packages, accommodations, restaurants, tours and activities in Yellowstone can be found by calling (1) 307-344-7311 or visiting the web site www.YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com. Travelers can also connect with Yellowstone National Park Lodges on Facebook, Twitter or by signing up for the newsletter.
Known for its “Legendary Hospitality with a Softer Footprint,” Xanterra Parks & Resorts® entities include lodges, restaurants, tours and activities in national and state parks, as well as resorts, a cruise line, railway and tour companies. Xanterra Parks & Resorts has operations in Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Zion, Crater Lake, Glacier, Rocky Mountain and Petrified Forest National Parks; Mount Rushmore National Memorial; Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley National Park; and five Ohio State Park Lodges as well as the Geneva Marina at Ohio’s Geneva State Park. Xanterra Parks & Resorts also owns and operates Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va., the Grand Canyon Railway and Hotel in Williams, Ariz., the Grand Hotel in Tusayan, Ariz., Windstar Cruises, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, Country Walkers and Austin Adventures.
Xanterra Parks & Resorts 6312 S. Fiddlers Green Circle Suite 600 North Greenwood Village, CO 80111