February 13, 2023
Lisa DiCarlo, our Controller, went on a vacation to enjoy a National Park, and was surprised to find some stunning architecture:
“Never having any inkling to become an architect, I am still intrigued by the architecture of anywhere I visit. The architect’s thoughts and ideas to design such structures never entered my mind, until a recent trip changed all that.
My husband and I visited Wyoming and decided to take a one-day guided excursion of the lower loop of Yellowstone National Park. Other than watching a mini-documentary, I had little knowledge of Yellowstone. Other than hoping to see bison, moose, the Grand Prismatic, and of course, Old Faithful, I had few expectations.
Our tour began in Jackson Hole, and after hours on the road and in the middle of nowhere, it was a shock to pull up to the Old Faithful Geyser and behold the grandeur of the Old Faithful Inn. Redwood shingles on a pitched roof were utilized to resemble the Mountains. More impressive than the exterior was the interior design, where in the 6-7 story lobby, you could see the logs that held up the building and the massive 16-foot stone fireplace and chimney.
The structure was commissioned in 1902 by Harry W. Child who chose architect Robert Reamer for the design. To complement the natural surroundings, lodgepole pines were incorporated into the building. Rhyolite blocks, cut from lava flow, provided stones for the foundation and fireplace. Reamer designed and placed windows to imitate sunlight shining through the trees. The opening of the Old Faithful Inn afforded better overnight accommodations for travelers. The unique design approach he chose would later become an architectural style known as National Park Rustic, the beginning of Parkitecture. The hotel is a National Historic Landmark.
As we continued our tour, we eventually arrived at the Lake Yellowstone Hotel. The hotel was originally built in 1891 and remodeled in 1903. This Colonial Revival style hotel is also listed as a National Historic Landmark.
It is said that the 29-year-old architect purposely designed the Inn to appease eastern travelers expecting a rustic environment. When travelers would eventually arrive at Lake Yellowstone Hotel, they were met with a different appeal. Reamer’s colonial addition to the hotel is said to have been designed to embrace eastern travelers after their days-long stagecoach journey. The familiar style would bring comfort to the homesick traveler’s longing for a taste of home.
Instead of just building a structure, this young architect contemplated what was essential to a person. It is this mindfulness of human requirement that now defines what architects and architecture means to me.”
Wyoming Parkitecture | WyoHistory.org
“Parkitecture” in Yellowstone | U.S. Geological Survey (usgs.gov)
Old Faithful Inn (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)
Lake Hotel (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)