Hotel Online  Special Report

Colter Bay Village, A Partnership Between Concessioner
Grand Teton Lodge Company and the National Park
Service, Opened in 1957; 
Designed to Serve 3,000 Visitors a Night


GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK, July 13, 2004 - Because their days were filled with activities like tending cattle, harvesting crops, sewing clothes, chopping firewood, raising children, preparing meals, stockpiling winter stores, repairing tools and defending their homes, Wyoming's pioneer women weren't all that concerned that their furniture didn't match. These rock-solid priorities of the West's early settlers are delightfully reflected in the quaint Colter Bay Cabins operated by the Grand Teton Lodge Company.

Each one unique and several more than 100 years old, the cabins were moved to Colter Bay Village from their original locations scattered around the acreage and homesteads that today comprise Grand Teton National Park. While the cabins today have been renovated to include "modern" amenities like plumbing and electricity, they still capture the charm - and reflect the challenges - of the life of a pioneer.

The interior of the cabins reflects - but does not mimic - what might have been found in an original homesteader's cabin. Small-scale furnishings harmonize with the small windows and door frames. Since few pioneer women could afford to bring large matching furniture suites from their homes in the east, the furniture in the cabins is complementary but not matching.

Large pieces such as headboards were rarely hauled across country, so women often painted "headboards" onto the walls. In a nod to this tradition, the walls at the head of the beds are accented by painted half-moon-shaped "headboards" in earthy yellows, reds or oranges. 

Many of the oldest cabins were built around 1900 when the first Jackson Hole settlers began building homesteads. Although some of these settlers prospered as cattle ranchers, the Depression and World War I combined to make ranching a growing challenge. Some enterprising settlers then began to turn their cabins into tourist accommodations for the growing number of travelers who were discovering the beauty of the area. 

John D. Rockefeller, Jr. - a major player in the ultimate preservation of the area - visited the valley in the 1920s and was so inspired by its beauty he bought parcels of land to save it from the commercialization he was sure would come. The goal of his Snake River Land Company was to set aside the land for the enjoyment of the American people, a mission that paralleled that of the National Park Service. He ultimately presented 35,310 acres - and the homestead cabins located on that land - to the U.S. government. The land became part of today's Grand Teton National Park.

Colter Bay Village was developed in the 1950s. A partnership between concessioner Grand Teton Lodge Company and the National Park Service, the goal was to build an affordable tourist area that could accommodate the needs of middle-class vacationers. The company's higher end Jackson Lake Lodge already offered luxurious accommodations for more affluent visitors.

Colter Bay Village was designed to serve the needs of 3,000 visitors a night who would sleep in the cabins, tent cabins - log-and-canvas structures - and an RV park and campground. The Village opened in 1957.  Colter Bay Village has a centralized grocery story, laundry building, service station, restaurant and visitor center. Renowned architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood - whose architectural masterpieces can be found throughout the U.S. national park system - designed the public buildings to complement the log construction of the cabins.

The cabins were moved from several locations using standard house-moving methods. Heavy-construction jacks were used to lift cabins off existing piers. The cabins were then secured to heavy timbers, mounted on axles and wheels and hauled to the new locations. Once moved, they were installed on concrete slabs. In some cases the cabins were turned on end and maneuvered into place in order to preserve trees growing close to the cabin sites. All cabins were fitted with new roofs, plumbing, electricity, doors, door frames, windows and window frames. In most cases bathrooms had to be added to the original cabins. 

Today, Grand Teton Lodge Company operates 166 cabins of varying sizes and floor plans. Two-bedroom cabins can sleep up to six people, while other cabins sleep two. This year the cabins are open from May 28 to September 26 and range in price from $37 per night for a one-room cabin with a semi-private bath to $135 per night for a two-room cabin with a connecting bath.

Colter Bay Village also features spacious tent cabins made of canvas and logs. Popular with seniors, young adults and families, the tent cabins feature two double-decker bunks without bedding, an outdoor grill, wood-burning stove and picnic table. Guests may rent bedding. Restrooms and showers are available nearby. The tent cabins are available June 4 through September 6 and are priced at $36 per night for one or two people. 

Also in Colter Bay Village is a 112-space RV Park with full sewer, electric and water hookups. The daily rate is $26 from May 28 through June 6 and September 6 through September 26 and $40 from June 7 through September 5.

Within Grand Teton National Park, Grand Teton Lodge Company manages lodging, restaurants, tours and activities at Jackson Lake Lodge, Jenny Lake Lodge and Colter Bay Village as well as the Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club in Jackson, Wyo.

Mesereau Public Relations
Also See: Tim Estes Appointed Director of Hotel Operations for Grand Teton Lodge Company / July 2003
Clay James of Grand Teton Lodge Company Named the International Resort Managers Associationís 2001 Resort Executive of the Year / April 2002

To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.Online Search

Home | Welcome! | Hospitality News | Classifieds | Catalogs & Pricing | Viewpoint Forum | Ideas/Trends
Please contact Hotel.Online with your comments and suggestions.