I’ve recently noticed a bronze plaque that stands right outside the portico of Jackson Lake Lodge. It celebrates the buildings claim to being a historic buliding. It got me thinking about how little I know about the history of my new home as I am an employee of Jackson Lake Lodge. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is a Historic Walking tour of the Lodge that didn’t require me to meet at a certain time or place, instead I just had to pick up a guide at the Activities Desk and get to walking.
The tour begins right inside the front door in the lower lobby. The phone booths, Arts for the Parks paintings and the staircase are some of the highlights of this space. But my favorite tidbit was about the Indian Dress behind the Front Desk. Did you know that it is an original dress that was used for parade or pow-wow purposes? Apparently, at one time it hung in the Stockade Bar, until it was stolen by some wranglers who cut it in half. You can see where they stitched it back together right across the bust line.
From here we head upstairs to the Upper Lobby. Of course the first thing you notice about this room is the amazing view! The windows are 36 feet high and 60 feet wide and look out over Willow Flats, Jackson Lake, the Dam and the Tetons themselves.
When you finally stop looking at the view, the tour takes you into the Mural Dining Room where you are able to check out the Rendezvous Murals. Carl Roters painted the two murals at the request of Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. not long after the hotel opened. It took him two years to paint the ten panels that span two walls and make two complete murals. All together they total nearly 80 feet and they depict the events and people who participated in the 1837 Rendezvous.
The next stop on the tour is the Pioneer Grill. This place is great as it feels like something you would find in an old movie. I feel like I should have a poodle skirt on as I order my huckleberry shake and sit in the swivel stools at the counter.
Apparently this room is the same as it was back at the opening of the building in 1955. Snaking throughout the room is one large, continuous counter and it is rumored to be the longest in the US. Even if you don’t stop for a bite or drink, definitely check out the pictures on the wall and the items over the kitchen!
After my little snack, I then headed back out to the lobby where I checked out the giant fireplaces (seriously I would be able to walk into them unhindered!), the old Stockade Bar (now a gift shop) and the Peace Table. Interesting fact about this table is that it was an old door that they took off the hinges and made into a table to host the 1989 Baker-Shevardnadze peace talks between Russia and the US. Talk about a doorway to peace! On my way back to the Main Lobby I went down the “Historic Hallway.” This display is pretty cool because there are all sorts of old photographs and documents about the history of the park and area. Definitely something to check out!
Finding myself back in the lobby, I actually take the time to check out the other displays. There are several islands with Indian artifacts, as well as a stuffed grizzly bear and trumpeter swan. I never realized how large these two species are! I also took the time to look up at the ‘wooden’ beams above, which aren’t actually wood but reinforced concrete that were stained to look like wood. You couldn’t tell by looking at this building, but it is made almost completely of concrete!
The last stop inside the building is at the Blue Heron Lounge. This bar was one of the few additions to the building when it replaced the Stockade Bar. Here is the place to go if you want a drink and to take in a great view! The decorations in here are quite cool too and include various Indian artifacts like headdresses and moccasins. You’ll also find the only television at Jackson Lake Lodge and a painting called “The Trapper’s Bride” by Charles Banks Wilson.
From here there are several outdoor activities you can do ~
You can head up Lunch Tree Hill and check out the view that is said to have inspired a legacy or…
You could head out to the corrals to check out some of the vintage buses.
I did a bit of both and would definitely recommend doing this tour yourself as I learned so much about this remarkable place!
From Melissa’s Corner