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 Zion Lodge Prepares to Reopen
Restored Western Cabins
ZION NATIONAL PARK, Utah, March 3, 1998 – After more than two years of restoration, on March 20 Zion Lodge will reopen 40 cabins designed in the 1920s by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood and built by the Union Pacific Railroad. The cabins have been painstakingly restored to reflect their historical significance.

The $1.2 million project was completed by Montana-based James R. McDonald Architects.  The architects were careful to preserve original design elements found in other national park sites such as the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park.  For example, the architects avoided symmetry, used indigenous materials and ensured the contours of the building followed the natural contours of the site.  At Zion Lodge, the architects used strong vertical columns to reflect the massive spires and peaks of Zion National Park.

In some cases, the designers actually undid recent enhancements such as modern fixtures in the bathrooms and new lighting fixtures.  “The bathrooms were restored to their original appearance with old-fashioned fixtures and lighting and modern-looking metal window frames were replaced by wood frames in some of the cabins to better reflect their original design,” explained John R. Shafer, general manager of the Zion Lodge.  “We have made a few adjustments nodding to modern day standards of comfort,  convenience and safety such as the addition of double beds instead of the original Murphy Beds, which were said to be uncomfortable; and installation of historically compatible carpet instead of original wood floors, which are difficult to maintain and present a fall hazard.”

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the cabins display furniture from the Old Hickory Furniture Company, which created the original furnishings.   The gas fireplaces that replaced the wood-burning fireplaces years ago reflect the original design.  Additionally, designers found original paint specifications and used modern-day colorization techniques to match the colors.

In the early days of the park, the Union Pacific Railroad had strong ties with the National Park Service.  An employee of the railroad, Underwood also designed lodges at Bryce Canyon National Park and Grand Canyon National Park.

Zion’s original lodge burned in 1966 and was replaced with a new structure that did not successfully retain the qualities and character of the original Swiss-Nordic style building.  The only remaining element of the 1920s structure is the stone fireplace.  Since 1966, ongoing work on the lodge has been conducted to restore the building to its original character.

Located in southern Utah, Zion National Park encompasses more than 146,000 acres of cliffs, canyons and diverse plant and animal life.  Zion Lodge offers 81 rooms and 40 cabins, a fine dining restaurant, snack bar and gift shop.  The Lodge operates sightseeing tours and can arrange horseback riding tours of the park.

Zion Lodge is operated by Amfac Parks & Resorts, the largest park and resort management company in the country. In addition to Zion National Park, Amfac Parks & Resorts operates lodges, restaurants and other concessions at the North and South Rims of Grand Canyon National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Death Valley National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Petrified Forest National Park and Everglades National Park.  The company also manages resorts in Napa, Calif.; Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Nebraska City, Neb.; and at eight Ohio State Parks and three Georgia State Parks.  For reservations at national park lodges except Yellowstone, call 303-29-PARKS or visit Amfac’s web site at  Reservations at Yellowstone National Park Lodges can be made by calling 307-344-7311.



Mona Mesereau
Mesereau Public Relations
(1) 303-841-1511 

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