National Register of Historic Places

Roosevelt Lodge Historic District

Yellowstone National Park

Date Added to Register

Monday, April 04, 1983

Smithsonian Number


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The Roosevelt Lodge Historic District is located on Lost Creek, 18 miles east of the Mammoth Hot Springs Headquarters area. The District is composed of 124 significant buildings related to lodging in Yellowstone National Park. The original lodge plan contained the lodge, constructed in 1919-1920, service buildings and 43 cabins. Over the years, additional cabins were built and other cabins were brought in from other areas in the park.

In 1918, the Director of the National Park Service recognized that the parks offered valuable educational advantages to universities and individual scholars and scientists. He promoted the use of the parks for field laboratory work and as a place for students to conduct studies of natural features at minimum expense. By 1921, the educational features of the Roosevelt Lodge area were being developed. Besides the area serving the park as a field laboratory, the National Park Service employed professor/naturalist, Dr. H.S. Conrad of Grinnell College to conduct daily nature field trips for the guests. Dr. Conrad also lectured and collected many botanical specimens for the park museum. These education examples are the predecessors of the extensive education programs found in the national parks today.

The lodge system developed in Yellowstone National Park during the 1920s and 1930s to serve the needs of the middle income guests. The new facilities augmented the hotel system which had its roots in the stagecoach eras. The lodge system, oriented toward automobile usage, maintained services and prices between those of hotels and housekeeping cabins. ''Roosevelt Camp'' was chosen as the site for the first lodge and would ultimately be the smaller of the lodges built. The Superintendent's Monthly Report for October 1919 states the proposition ''to make this camp something on the order of the 'dude ranch' of the West.''

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources