May 12, 2016

Lake Yellowstone Hotel turning 125 years old

As the National Park Service celebrates its centennial, the stately Lake Yellowstone Hotel is celebrating its 125th anniversary and recent designation as a National Historic Landmark.

The hotel — which first opened in 1891 — will celebrate the dual milestones on Friday with a series of free public events that run from 9:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“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 Xanterra Parks & Resorts/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 of this elegant old hotel, and as a company we are proud to have played a significant role in that mission,” Hoeninghausen said in a news release.

The National Park Service and Xanterra Parks & Resorts will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Lake Yellowstone Hotel on Friday. Photo courtesy Xanterra/Yellowstone National Park Lodges

Friday's events will include a procession of historic vehicles like the park’s famous Yellow Buses, interpretive walking tours of the Lake Yellowstone Hotel and short narrated driving tours of the area in historic buses.

A special ceremony begins at 10 a.m. with remarks and an unveiling of the plaque for the hotel’s April 2015 designation as a National Historic Landmark.

Lake Yellowstone Hotel opened its doors 19 years after Yellowstone became the world’s first national park. The hotel took two years to build at a cost of $46,000. 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.

Known for its Colonial Revival architectural features, such as its large extended gables supported by 50-foot Ionic columns, the Lake Yellowstone Hotel received a two-year, $28-million renovation in 2014. The renovation placed an emphasis on sustainability, Hoeninghausen said. The hotel earned Green Seal certification while also retaining the historic character of the hotel, he said.

The renovation included major structural enhancements and updated areas like the lobby, sun room, dining room, rooms and suites, delicatessen and registration area. The project also added a concierge desk, business center and bar.

In becoming a National Historic Landmark, Lake Yellowstone Hotel has joined some 2,500 other sites across the country that have been deemed to possess the highest level of historic significance. Although there are some 90,000 locations on the National Register of Historic Places, less than 3 percent are designated landmarks.

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