National Register of Historic Places

Lake Hotel

Yellowstone National Park

Date Added to Register

Thursday, May 16, 1991

Smithsonian Number


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The Lake Hotel, prominently located on Lake Yellowstone in Yellowstone National Park, is significant as a type of construction and the work of a master. It is also important because it represents the development of concessions in Yellowstone National Park and thus played a major role in the development of tourism not only in the Park, but also in the nearby states. The building is the product of expansions to meet visitor needs. The Hotel was originally constructed in 1891. It evolved from a barracks-like structure to a large Colonial Revival edifice after its first major alteration in 1903-1904. This style is not a typical example of the hotel construction movement within the national parks at the turn of the twentieth century in which buildings were designed to harmonize with the environment as exemplified by Yellowstone's Old Faithful Inn. The concessioner's architect, Robert C. Reamer, who played a major role in the creation of a Colonial Revival style in his alterations to the hotel, is significant in the architectural history of Yellowstone National Park. In addition to his work at Lake Hotel, his other achievements in the Park are the design for the Old Faithful Inn and its additions, the Canyon Hotel, the Mammoth Dining Room, Motor Inn, and cottages, as well as the Child's residence at Mammoth Hot Springs.

Lake Hotel is the only extant hotel from this early period. The construction of the first Fishing Bridge in 1902 and the completion of the East Entrance Road which traverses the Shoshone National Forest and eventually leads to Cody, Wyoming, certainly influenced the patterns of Wyoming tourism. The opening of the road coincided with the first major addition to the hotel in 1903-1904. The decision for the construction of the hotel and its placement near one of the major natural features in the Park is a part of the history of the development of the Park's concessions. Its location also determined the planned itinerary for the early traveling public by the concessioners and offered a different experience for the guests.

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources