Photo credit: Xanterra.com
Did you know? Monday, Feb. 16 is President’s Day and Washington’s birthday.
United States presidents have created, vacationed in, and even had lodges and parks named after them. Xanterra — the largest national and state park concessioner in the United States –has hosted several presidents throughout the years.
A little bit more on Xanterra:
Xanterra’s national and state park operations include Yellowstone National Park in northwestern Wyoming, where two lodges are open during the winter; Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona; California’s Death Valley National Park and Zion National Park in Utah.
Xanterra also operates summer-season-only lodges in Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park and Montana’s Glacier National Park in Montana; summer-season foodservice operations in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park and year-round foodservice and gift shop operations at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota and Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. In addition, Xanterra operates five lodges at Ohio State Parks and Grand Canyon Railway.
Here’s a few of my favorite presidential facts Xanterra listed in there latest news release. They’re pretty interesting!
Instead of staying in one of Yellowstone’s lodges, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt chose to stay at the private home of Harry Child, the owner of the Yellowstone Park Company, which operated the park lodges and other concessions. His reason: he did not want the general public to see him in his wheelchair. Designed by Robert C. Reamer, the same architect who designed the Old Faithful Inn, the large home is a single-floor prairie-style structure, so it can easily accommodate a wheelchair. The home is occupied today by the general manager of Xanterra Parks & Resorts’ Yellowstone National Park Lodges, operator of the lodges and other concessions in the park.
In 1883, President Chester Arthur rode a horse from the southern to the northern entrance of Yellowstone and met supporters at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel entrance before departing the area aboard the newly completed Northern Pacific Railroad. Although it was still under construction and lacked a complete roof, President Arthur dined at the Mammoth Hot Springs Dining Room before his departure.
President Barack Obama spent three nights at Maumee Bay State Park Lodge in October 2008, where he prepared for the final presidential debate with Senator John McCain. The northwestern Ohio lodge is situated on the shore of Lake Erie.
Warren G. Harding enjoyed playing cards and visiting with close associates – sometimes called the “Ohio Gang” by newspaper reporters – in a cabin in Ohio’s Deer Creek State Park that was owned by his chief strategist and the U.S. Attorney General at the time, Harry M. Daugherty. The restored and furnished “Harding Cabin” is now available for rent and is particularly popular with small groups such as wedding parties. The cabin overlooks Deer Creek Lake and features sleeping accommodations for up to eight people, a full kitchen, laundry facilities, fireplace, private boat dock and screened-in porch overlooking the lake.
President Warren Harding visited Yellowstone in 1923, shortly before he died. Staff in the park named a geyser after him and observed a moment of silence in his honor.
Coolidge was also pivotal in granting funding for Mount Rushmore. In 1927, he visited Custer State Park in South Dakota’s Black Hills, not far from the site where sculptor Gutzon Borglum planned to carve the giant faces of Mount Rushmore. Borglum hired a plane to fly over the lodge where Coolidge was staying and dropped a wreath from the plane with an invitation for Coolidge to attend a dedication ceremony for the mountain. Coolidge not only agreed to attend, but following the ceremony, he promised federal funding for the project.