Old Faithful Inn Centennial
1904 - 2004
(Left) This early Haynes postcard was
postmarked from Yellowstone on June
21, 1908. The message reads "Parted
from here and rode 22 mi in a snow
storm today. Fine business  ME"
    In the foreground is the cone of
Beehive Geyser.
The Old Faithful Inn's 100 Birthday Celebration, May 7, 2004
(photos at right and below taken at the Inn's May 7-9
Heritage Days weekend)

The National Park Service and Xanterra Parks & Resorts
officially opened the Old Faithful Inn to the public beginning
around 10:30AM on Friday, May 7, 2004, with an entourage of
mounted park rangers, a stagecoach, and historic busses
beginning their procession up the front road to the Inn and on
to the porte cochere. It was a beautiful spring morning with
temperatures in the 60s, and bright sunshine (though later  
turning to overcast skies). At 11:00AM hundreds of well
wishers moved into the lobby area in front of the fireplace and
lined the balconies of the second and third floors to hear
various speakers including Yellowstone Superintendent
Suzanne Lewis and Paul Hoffman, the Interior Department's
deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife, and parks. In
attendance was Harry W. Child (photo below), grandson of
Yellowstone's legendary Harry Child who, over 100 years ago,
contacted architect Robert Reamer to design and supervise
construction of the historic hotel. After the ribbon cutting,
children of park personnel lead the audience in singing Happy
Birthday to the Inn. Finally, all were invited to enjoy birthday
cake and coffee as the Old Faithful Inn officially opened for its
100th season. The cake was topped with a likeness of the
100 year old building fashioned from chocolate. The
Montana
Mandolin Society provided music from the second floor
balcony as guests socialized below. Throughout the rest of the
Heritage Days weekend the lobby floor displayed interpretive
exhibits, and presentations, workshops, and tours were held
in and near the Inn. On Saturday May 8 the Montana Mandolin
Society performed a well-received concert from 7:45 to 9:45PM
in the nearby employee recreation hall, located behind the Old
Faithful Lodge. Their eclectic music varied from classical to
traditional, and included a song written (but never performed)
for the 50th anniversary of the Inn in 1954.

The 100th anniversary ceremony celebrated the vision of the
Inn's legendary American architect, Robert Chambers
Reamer, with the dedication of a wayside exhibit in his honor.
Reamer created a revolution in architecture in national parks
that has continued to this day. His style of "rustic
architecture"--where the building is designed to fit into the
landscape--has come to be known over the years as
"parkitecture." The grandeur and wonder of the Old Faithful Inn
are best reflected in Reamer's own words (spoken during the
construction of another building he designed for the park, the
Canyon Hotel), "I built it in keeping with the place where it
stands. Nobody could improve upon that. To be at discord with
the landscape would be almost a crime. To try to improve
upon it would be an impertinence." The Old Faithful Inn first
opened its doors to the public in June 1904

Among commemorative centennial items available this year in
the
Old Faithful Inn gift shop are mugs, pewter items, playing
cards, postcards, throws, caps and other wearing apparel,
collector's plates, and more--all observing the 100th
anniversary of the Inn.

Note that although the Old Faithful Inn may be booked for
much of the 2004 summer season, cancellations do occur,
and you can check for them from time to time by calling
reservations at 307-344-7311 or checking online at  
http://www.travelyellowstone.com/



Also see:
  
Opening the Old Faithful Inn for the Summer -
Hotel-Online.com
 
Old Faithful Celebrates 100 Years - Bozeman Daily
Chronicle, May 8, 2004
 
Old Faithful Inn Links on the Web
Guests arrive for opening day festivities in stagecoach.
This bus once used daily at Yellowstone in years past returned
to the park to transport guests to the opening ceremonies.
After speeches and a ribbon cutting, guests sang
Happy Birthday to the 100-year-old Inn
On the evening of opening day there was a festive air as
piano music and singing filled the log lobby.
After participating in the opening day entourage,
this mounted ranger takes time to visit with
appreciative guests.
Honored guests Harry W. Child and his wife.
Child's grandfather Harry W. Child was
responsible for contacting Robert Reamer to
design and oversee construction of the Old Faithful
Inn.
Exhibits included this top of flagpole, one of the
originals used when the Inn was opened in
1904. On the pole is a copy of a note stuffed
inside by workers in April 1904 that reads:
"remarks--snowed like hell. Drank 4 quarts of
booze. Can see about 118 posts."
Members of the Montana Mandolin Society gather on the widow's
walk of the Old Faithful Inn. These musicians entertained in the
lobby of the Inn with an eclectic mix of traditional and
contemporary pieces. On the evening of Saturday, May 8 they
performed a benefit concert for the Yellowstone Association. (Photo
courtesy of the
Montana Mandolin Society).
Throughout the Heritage Days weekend, exhibits such as this
stereograph display were on public view in the lobby.
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