Friday, June 5, 2009

"...To Reflect the Chaos of Nature"

Built during the winter of 1903-04, Yellowstone National Park's Old Faithful Inn was designed by Robert C. Reamer, who wanted the asymmetry of the building to reflect the chaos of nature.

Reamer was 29 years old when hired by the by the Yellowstone Park Transportation Company to design a hotel for the upper geyser basin of the Park. The spectacular Old Faithful Inn is within short viewing distance of Old Faithful Geyser.

The Northern Pacific Railroad financed the original construction of Old Faithful Inn at a cost of around $140k with furnishing adding an additional $25k to the project.

The Hotel has withstood snowstorms, earthquakes, and even the 1988 forest fire, the largest forest fire in hundreds of years. The original section of the Hotel, the Old House, features original Mission furniture, including: loose-cushioned setees, rockers, arm chairs, wing-back chairs, octagonal base tables with leather tops and brass studded trim, writing desks and chairs.

Beyond the rockers in the photo is an artist working at an easel and conversing with visitors to the Hotel. The historic Hotel stands as a monument to what is known as "parkitecture."

Rustic log work (some of which is shown in this photo, left) is used for balcony railings, balustrades along staircases, and brackets under the eaves.

Here a gnarled log bracket is attached to the fireplace and a log column of the balcony framing, adding a rustic decoration.

The massive stone fireplace is sixteen feet square at its base, and while the building survived an earthquake in 1959, this lobby chimney suffered significant damage.

A large-scale wrought-iron and brass clock, also designed by Reamer, is featured on the exposed stone masonry chimney.

It, too, is in need of repair.

Standing in the middle of the lobby and looking up 65 feet reveals this view. The structure at the very top is referred to as "the tree house," but its function is unclear.

The platform just below the tree house was used several years ago by musicians.

After performing during dinner, the musicians would climb the stairs to this platform and play for dances or entertainment.

Just off the lobby is the dining room.

Wings were added to the Old House portion of the Hotel in 1915 and 1927, and today there are 327 rooms available to guests in this National Historic Landmark.

As to "the chaos of nature," we did see railings made of contorted lodgepole pine and several gnarled log brackets, but we viewed all these variations as reflecting the beauty of nature.

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