Lake Yellowstone Hotel: Architectural History in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone for families and friendsFor 125 years, the Lake Yellowstone Hotel has been providing luxury accommodations in Yellowstone for families and friends. The first hotel in Yellowstone, the Lake Hotel has been a member of the Historic Hotels of America since 2012 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2015. Although we at Scenic Safaris usually focus on the nature and wildlife of Yellowstone, the Lake Hotel is an amazing man-made wonder amidst the natural beauty and definitely worth checking out. From the iconic Ionic columns to design details in the guest rooms, the Yellowstone Lake Hotel is a beautiful piece of architectural history.

The original Lake Yellowstone Hotel was a far smaller and simpler structure than it is today. Completed in 1891, the Lake Hotel featured 80 guest rooms within its three-story clapboard building. In 1903, architect Robert Reamer redesigned and expanded the hotel. If that name sounds familiar, it might be because he was also the architect behind the largest log structure in the world, Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn. As part of Reamer’s redesign, the number of guest rooms increased to 210. It was during this renovation that Lake Yellowstone Hotel acquired many of the exterior features it is known for today. The 50-foot Ionic columns and dormer windows on the roof are two of the architectural features Reamer added during that first renovation.

Reamer continued to expand and add new architectural design elements to the Lake Yellowstone Hotel through 1928. The porte-cochere, east wing, and the Sun Room were all designed by Reamer and built during the Lake Yellowstone Hotel’s first 40 years in business. It is through the work of Robert Reamer that the Lake Yellowstone Hotel acquired its Colonial Revival architectural style.

A much more recent renovation of the Lake Hotel was underway from 2012 through 2014. During this project, major structural enhancements were made to the hotel to provide stabilization against Yellowstone National Park’s natural seismic activity. Other renovations during this time, such as enhancements made to the Sun Room, dining room, and lobby incorporated character-defining elements of the hotel’s Colonial Revival style. Period lighting, hardwood flooring, and even the furnishings all hearken back the grandeur and elegance of the 1920s and Robert Reamer’s grand designs.

At Scenic Safaris, we believe there’s a side of Yellowstone National Park for everyone. The Yellowstone for newlyweds is not necessarily the same as the Yellowstone for families, except when it comes to the Lake Yellowstone Hotel. The bright yellow façade and impressive architectural details make it worth a look for any park visitors. If you are planning a trip to Yellowstone, a tour with our professional guides at Scenic Safari will show you Yellowstone in a whole new light. Whether you prefer a fun and informative coach tour through Yellowstone's highlights or an adventurous ATV ride through the park's backcountry, our knowledgeable and experienced guides know the sights and history of our first national park. Contact us to book a Yellowstone tour today.

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