The Excellent Adventures of Kim and Kev

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Old Faithful Inn

I've decided that my love for log cabins came from my fascination with Little House on the Prairie.  

I used to daydream that I would build a house just like Laura Ingall's and I would sleep in the loft area so I could climb a ladder to my room every night.

Kev shared my fascination ( not because of Little House) but nixed my ladder/loft idea due to safety reasons and we started looking at house plans for log homes.

And then we ended up going the easy route ( at least we thought so at the time) and bought the house we have now because of the log cabin themed room.

My point is this: I am in love with log homes and Old Faithful Inn was originally the ONLY reason that I wanted to visit Yellowstone.  It just so happens that over time and through research I came to fall in love with the rest of the park.

The Old Faithful Inn took $140,000 (3.2 million dollars today) and one year to build.  It opened on June 1st, 1904.

The original inn had 130 rooms on three floors all of which are still in place today.  We actually stayed in the original part which is considered the "old house".

Guests ( usually from the East Coast and looking for "adventure") would travel to the North Entrance of the park by train.  They then boarded a stagecoach and spent five nights and six days experiencing the park and staying at the five different hotels.  The five hotels were built approximately forty miles apart from each other  because forty miles was considered the most amount of time that someone would want to spend in a stagecoach.

This trip of adventure cost $50.00.

I can't explain why... but riding a stagecoach in my Sunday best and traveling between the hotels sounds like one heck of a good time to me.

Of course, one of the main attractions to the Inn was right next door......

Old Faithful.  The geyser.  Which just so happened to go off ( pretty close to schedule) right after we arrived.
It was amazing and beautiful!  And the bird that I happened to capture in the pic was just an added bonus.

The sign over the back entrance ( which we mistook for the front at first - ooops!)
And then we discovered the front doors...
And were promptly AMAZED by the interior.  Which may or may not have caused some tears.
Which we all know means that it did.... because hello! it is me we are talking about.
The hotel opened with electricity, so the lighting that you see surrounding the columns was original.

During our tour of the lodge, our guide told us the sweetest story about how a lady had found her great aunt's diary.  The diary told about her travels to the Inn and described her room in detail including what she could see out of her window.  So, the great niece decided to make the same trip and try to find which room her aunt had stayed in.  And based on the details in the diary, the staff at the Inn was able to find the room and let the niece stay in the same room during her visit.

That story gave me the idea to take a picture of our door number just in case one of my great nieces reads this blog one day and decides to follow my footsteps.

Our room.... Complete with a secret door behind the bed.
All of the door hardware ( including the numbers on the front) were created by a blacksmith in 1903.
The plumbing wasn't installed until 1910.  And our bathroom had the original claw foot tub!
Taking a "shower" in a tub did prove quite difficult for someone ( me!) with no coordination but it completely added to the charm of the room.

The Dining Room...
The meals were treated like a ceremony.  The guests would dress in their absolute best ballgowns and tuxes and would wait in the lobby for the dinner bell to ring.  They would then sit at long tables where their food was served family style..... all eating together and passing large dishes of food around the table to share.

After dinner, the guests would move to the main room and dance the night away.

More pictures of the front door.  I was a little obsessed due to the iron work and the color red.
I made friends with a man named Dave ( not my Dad) that worked in the hotel as a guide.  He has been working at the hotel every summer since he retired.  He closed the doors for me and let me take pictures from the inside so I could capture all of the detail.
A little string used to hang off the front of the door that, once pulled, would ring the large doorbell.. pictured below...
The doorman would have to look through the cage window to make sure that it wasn't a bear before he opened the door.  And if all was safe, he would open the door with this large key.
That is definitely a key that could never get lost.  It was pretty heavy.

The fireplace.... taken first thing in the morning.
The structure is actually four different fireplaces.  Our guide told us that after an evening of dancing, the guests would pop popcorn in the fireplace and sing songs around the piano.

Dad with the popcorn popper...It weighed about thirty pounds.
On our last night,  Mom bought me some popcorn to take out in the lobby to eat. It was late, my parents had gone to bed, and I just sat on a chair on the balcony overlooking the fireplace and the "dance floor" and imagined what a wonderful experience it must have been to spend a night at The Inn in it's early days.

As the dining room closed for the evening, the staff gathered around and sang "Home on the Range" before they locked up.  It was so cool!

As you can tell, I was completely mesmerized by Old Faithful Inn.  I probably just gave you way more information than you ever wanted to know.... and, believe me,  this was the short version!  The hotel ended up being my MOST FAVORITE thing about Yellowstone... and that is saying a lot because every single thing in Yellowstone was my favorite.

After three nights of pure awesomeness, we had to move on to our next home away from home.... Cabins on Lake Yellowstone.

This is a  picture of Old Faithful on our last morning there... taken right before it went off.
And this is me waiting for my stagecoach to arrive and carry me off on my next adventure...

I have officially decided what I'm going to do when I retire.... Work in the lobby of Old Faithful Inn.  


  1. The Old Faithful Inn is AMAZING!!! We saw it when we were there, but didn't stay overnight in a room - what FUN!! Also, we never got so much information out of the greeter - you are pretty hard to resist, and I love hearing all the details. Wouldn't it be spectacular if we could have that adventure today (especially for $50.00)!! I'd go in a minute!! Thank you so much for covering your time in Yellowstone so beautifully. Can't wait for the next installment. Love you all, Aunt Sandi

  2. Kim - I'm crying - just like you were doing every time I turned around!! You captured the first part of our trip so romantically! By the way, I cannot get over the bird in front of "Old Faithful"! You definitely need to send that in to "National Geographic"! And some day, you and Dave can greet all of the people waiting for a trip of a lifetime!! Love, mom

  3. Wow! I am blown away. I didn't know anything about this gem of a place, and I do appreciate all of the details you shared.