Yellowstone National Park's Famous Architecture Map

Above is a clickable map showing the the building structures in Yellowstone National Park. Click on the points for structure type, name, and year built.

Most of us are aware of the architect Robert Reamer’s contributions to the Old Faithful Inn, the Lake Hotel, the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, and the demolished Grand Canyon Hotel.
His structures can be found all over the park and outlying park communities.

“Master of All Styles”
When most of us think of Robert Reamer and Yellow- stone architecture, the word
“rustic” comes immediately to mind. But even in Yellow- stone, Reamer designed many projects in other styles, including the Executive House, the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, the Mammoth Cottages, the Thumb Lunch Station, and the rebuilding of the Lake Hotel.
Light filters through the windows of the Old Faithful Inn. J.E. Haynes photo, 1911.
Architectural historians have often speculated about Reamer’s early influences. Some notice decidedly Scandinavian influences in the Old Faithful Inn. In its interiors, the inn is strongly reminiscent of the great camps of the Adirondacks. Others see the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work in the Grand Canyon Hotel and the Executive House, though no evidence has surfaced of any connection between Reamer and Wright. Upon leaving California, Reamer worked in the offices of Reid Bros., architects of the Victorian-style Del Coronado. In all, Reamer’s Yellowstone projects have variously been labeled as originating in the rustic, Prairie, neoclassical, or Colonial styles.

Stacks Yellowstone Falls

A Reamer-Based Tour of Yellowstone
One reason that this architect’s contributions to Yellowstone are worth recognizing is that his influence here was so wide- spread. Robert Reamer designed buildings for every major developed area in Yellowstone except two of the smallest, Norris and Roosevelt. At the larger park villages, such as Old Faithful, Yellowstone Lake, and Mammoth, his work is still prominent and commonly known. Conversely, at West Thumb, all direct evidence of his work is gone. None of his structures remain at the Canyon, but contemporary buildings pay tribute to his genius. At Gardiner, the buildings of his that remain are classically Reameresque.
To fully appreciate this man’s contribution to Yellowstone, we must take the tour, from site to site, until we’ve remembered what is gone, and seen all that we still can see of his contributions to this special cultural landscape.

Yellowstone Lake
At the lake, Reamer’s projects were both large and small. He had a tremendous impact on the appearance of the Lake Hotel, transforming it in 1903–1904 from a generic clapboard hostelry to the “Grand Lady of the Lake.” He returned on several occasions in the 1920s to oversee further additions to the hotel, so its appearance today is largely a reflection of his ideas. Less well known are Reamer’s designs for the lunch station at West Thumb and the operator’s building used by the Yellowstone Park Boat Company, which stood until 1963, just downstream from the Fishing Bridge on the west side of the river.

Canyon Area
Coach stable, coach shed, and hay shed for the YPTC (constructed 1908, razing date uncertain, 1960–1970)
In 1908, Reamer designed a set of three buildings for the YPTC complex at Canyon. Approximately three-quarters of a mile north of the Canyon Hotel site, on the east side of today’s main highway, is an open meadow that was a bus yard until the 1970s. The coach stable (for horses), the coach shed (for vehicles), and the hay shed all featured heavy rubble stone foundations and piers. One of the buildings was remodeled in 1922–1923 as a driver’s dormitory known as the Cody Bunkhouse. These facilities were no longer in use by 1960, and were probably razed during the following decade.
Grand Canyon Hotel (built 1910–1911, addition 1930, demolished/burned 1959–1960)
Robert Reamer’s Grand Canyon Hotel of 1910–1911 was a magnificent structure. Those who had the opportunity to stroll down its hallways or enjoy its massive lounge, as well as those of us who have only experienced it through photographs, mourn its loss deeply. Rodd Wheaton of the NPS considers its destruction to be the greatest architectural loss in the history of Yellowstone.
Old Faithful Inn Interior
Mammoth Hot Springs
By sheer number, the projects Reamer designed for Mammoth outnumber any other areas of the park, but many of his designs for this popular tourist area never made it past the planning stages. In all, he created eight separate designs for the hotel at Mammoth, four known structures for the transportation company, a commissary for the hotel company, an administration building for the U.S. Government, and four residences.
Reamer’s final work on a hotel facility at Mammoth took place from 1934 to 1938, when he designed the three major buildings and the cottages that today comprise the hotel complex. During a visit to Yellowstone in the summer or fall of 1934, Reamer began planning to raze the remainder of the original hotel, while retaining his 1913 wing, and building a one-story lobby and office area at its front.

Upper Geyser Basin
Of course, it is the Old Faithful Inn for which Reamer is most remembered in Yellowstone, and it is fitting to conclude our tour of his Yellowstone accomplishments in the shadow of that celebrated landmark. But Reamer’s inspiration and input were also significant on the two general stores, currently operated by Delaware North, that flank the great inn.
Old Faithful Inn (designed 1903, built 1903–1904, wing addition 1913–1914, wing addition 1927–1928, addition 1936)
There is no need to repeat the detailed narrative provided by Karen Reinhart’s article, but a summary might be in order. The Old Faithful Inn was why Reamer was hired to come to Yellowstone. As already mentioned, Harry W. Child, accustomed to spending part of the winter at the Hotel del Coronado, admired Reamer’s work on several buildings there. Inquiring of his good friend E.S. Babcock (manager of the Del) he learned the name of the architect and made arrangements to meet him. This was in January 1903, and it is likely that Reamer returned to Yellowstone with Mr. and Mrs. Child.

Enduring Influence
Robert Reamer’s influence on Yellow- stone has outlasted his lifelong career relationship with the park. Structures he designed continue to earn recognition and acclaim 80 to 100 years after he completed them. The Old Faithful Inn is itself a National Historic Land- mark. The Lake Hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places. Other Reamer buildings at Old Faithful and Mammoth are contributing elements to National Historic Districts.

Complete story -

Map Copyright: cccarto Map data: NPS