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Old Faithful Lodge & Cabins

Yellowstone Hotels & Lodges:
Old Faithful Camp & Old Faithful Lodge

Copyright 2009 by Robert V. Goss. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced
or utilized in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by an
information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.

Click Here for 1909 Map of Old Faithful Area 
- Campbell's Guide
Click Here for 1937 Map of Old Faithful Area - Haynes Guide
Click Here for 1942 Map of Old Faithful Area - Haynes Guide

Old Faithful Camp - Old Faithful Lodge

[Photo Courtesy YNP Archives #02784]

   The current Old Faithful Lodge is a descendent of the Shaw & Powell Camping Company that operated in the park from 1898 to 1916. Starting out with a "moveable camps" operation, they received permission in 1913 to build permanent camps in Yellowstone Park, following after the pattern of the Wylie Permanent Camping Company. Within two years Shaw & Powell had erected permanent facilities at most of the main park locations, including, of course, Old Faithful, where they had a ring-side seat near Old Faithful Geyser and the Old Faithful Inn.
    The above photo, probably taken from atop the 
Old Faithful Inn, shows the Shaw & Powell Camp around 1915-16. The lodge building (center right) is flanked on the left by the striped canvas tent houses.  In 1917 organization changes in the park mandated by the Department of Interior combined all the permanent camp operations into one company, that became known as the
Yellowstone Park Camping Co. (see 1917 ad above left. Click to enlarge).  It was jointly run by both the Wylie and the Shaw & Powell companies.
    In 1919
Howard Hays, who had been instrumental in the promotional efforts of the Wylie Camping Co., bought out the company with partner Roe Emery and renamed the operation Yellowstone Park Camps Company.  Operating the company until 1924, they made many improvements to the lodge at Old Faithful, and to their lodges at Mammoth, Canyon, Lake, and Roosevelt. Up until 1928, the Old Faithful operation was simply known as the "Old Faithful Camp."

[1918 Advertisement for the Old Faithful Camp]
[Yellowstone Park Camping Company brochure]
  The views above show the Lodge and tent houses as they appeared around 1918-19.  By this time a new building has been added on to the original log structure, located at the far left.  The YNP Annual Superintendent's Report for 1919 noted that, ". . . the new dining room extension was completed and used for the first time on August 22 . . . A new kitchen is well under way at this camp."

[Haynes Postcard #15039]

[Haynes Postcard #24076]
Above: 1915 view of the interior of the original Shaw & Powell log lodge at Old Faithful.
Below: Interior view of the new dining room in ca1924.

By 1924 a new building (above) appeared that is believed to be the new dining room for the guests. The photo at left shows the rustic interior of the building.  The 1922 Superintendent's Report revealed that ". . . 50 new cabins are in process of construction which will increase the capacity of that camp more than 20 per cent. The new recreation pavilion was operated during the season and proved a successful addition to the entertainment features at the camp. A delicatessen tent, 20 x 40 feet, was constructed in the public automobile camp adjacent to Old Faithful Camp."
In 1924
Vernon Goodwin, a hotelier from Los Angeles, purchased the Camps operations, apparently with some backing by Harry Child, for $660,000.  Although the name technically became the Vernon Goodwin Company, in practice the Yellowstone Park Camps Company name endured. 

[Haynes Postcard #24080]

[YP Lodges & Camps Co. Brochure, ca1928]
  H.W. Child, owner of the Yellowstone Park Hotel Co. and Yellowstone Park Transportation Co., purchased the camps operation in 1928 to complete his monopolization of the lodging facilities in Yellowstone.  The business was renamed the Yellowstone Park Lodges & Camps Company, retaining that name until 1936 when it was incorporated into the Yellowstone Park Co. with the hotel and transportation operations.  Vernon Goodwin retained a management position with the company and remained until his retirement in 1942.  Around 1927-28 construction began on a complex that would include a lobby, offices, curio shop, soda fountain, picture shop, barber shop, and new recreation hall.  The new building was designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood, who was responsible for the design of the Dining Lodge in West Yellowstone and numerous other buildings in carious national parks.  The construction incorporated elements of some of older buildings with some other older structures being demolished.  The lodge featured massive log construction and stone pillars with ample windows facing directly toward Old Faithful Geyser.  Orchestras entained guests during the evenings on a regular basis.

[Haynes Postcard #28182 - OF Lodge Lounge]
[Glenn Henry Orchestra, Photo Courtesy YNP Archives #133444]

[Photo Courtesy American Memory 1984 HABS Photo]
[Above: Haynes Postcard #28188 - 1928 View of OF Lodge Cabins]

[Below: Map courtesy Xanterra Engineering Files]

Originally, lodging facilities for the guests consisted of canvas tents. They were gradually reconstructed to include wood floors and partial wood sidewalls. Eventually the cabins became constructed entirely of wood with log posts and rafters.  Many new cabins were added over the years and in 1939-40, single, duplex, and triplex cabins were constructed, making a total room count at that time of 638. Running water was added to the cabins in the 1940's.  In the ensuing years many older cabins were moved to other locations or razed.  When the Yellowstone Park Company operation was sold to the Goldfield Corporation in 1979, the official building inventory listed "162 cabins & other bldgs," not including the dorms and residences. In 1997 there were 133 guest cabin units available.  The plat map to the left shows the extent of the lodge operation in 1952. Old Faithful Geyser is to the left of the Lodge. Click on map to enlarge.

Undated plastic cabin key tag, probably ca1960s

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