Lake Hotel Renovation Complete - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Lake Hotel Renovation Complete

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Yellowstone Park is celebrating completion of a two year, 29 million dollar renovation of its oldest hotel. All of Lake Hotel’s redecorated rooms are ready for guests now. Workers worked throughout two winters to complete the project.

In 1889, 27 years before there was a National Park Service, construction began on Lake Hotel. It is Yellowstone’s oldest. Two years ago, reconstruction started.

Reconstruction Architect Dennis Johnson said, “The old hotel had been touched pretty harshly over the years." Johnson explained it was a challenge to return the hotel to the colonial revival period architecture. With yellow clapboard siding, and 50 foot columns, the grand structure reflects the tastes of wealthy visitors from the East in the late 1800's, not the rustic Old Faithful style. Yet, Old Faithful Architect Robert Reamer added these, and other decorations: including the sun room, a porte chochere, and tiled fireplace.

The reconstruction took place on the shore of Yellowstone Lake through two winters with temperatures as cold as 36 below zero, and yes -- there were earthquakes.

Johnson said, “There was a pretty good one here this spring from the Norris earthquake that did reach down here and did a little bit of damage.”

Earthquakes were the primary reason for the reconstruction. Reconstruction superintendent Patrick Marble.

Construction superintendent Patrick Marble commented, “You can see the columns in this room, and a lot of those columns we had to put structural steel in. So we literally ended up supporting massive sections of the building that was built in 1891, a huge historical landmark.”

The Park celebrated the final phase of the reconstruction with speeches and a ribbon cutting. Phase two remodeled more than half the hotel’s rooms, from peeling wallpaper and problem plumbing, to a luxury room with the view.

Concessionaire Xanterra paid for the hotel rehab. Park Superintendent, Dan Wenk noted historic preservation is one of the challenges the Park faces. He said, “These great old historic structures take a lot of maintenance. They take a lot of care.”



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