A Brief History of the Belton Chalet

Glacier Park Lodging at the Historic Belton ChaletThe first Great Northern Railway hotel at Glacier National Park, Belton Chalet welcomed guests arriving by train long before roads cut across the Continental Divide. The Chalet was just a short distance from the station, across a grassy field that today is Highway 2. Guests walked through a flowering arbor and up the steps to the Swiss-style chalet, and then on up the hill and into the Lodge with its blazing stone fireplaces.

A staff of Minnesota waitresses dressed as Swiss milkmaids served elegant meals in the Chalet. After dinner the Tap Room welcomed gentlemen with their cigars to unwind near the hearth. These adventurous park visitors, after a few days of rest from the arduous trip west, boarded stagecoaches, lake steamers and trail horses to access Glacier Park's ski-able snowfields and back country chalets and tent camps.

During the Great Depression the Belton Chalet housed CCC crews who built Going to the Sun Road which is still the only road through the heights of Glacier National Park. Going to the Sun Road is a National Historic Landmark that was completed in1932 and runs 52 miles, crossing the Continental Divide at the sub-alpine elevation of Logan Pass.

At the beginning of World War II the main lodge closed and the Great Northern Railway eventually sold the Belton. The Chalet became a pizza parlor, bakery and sporadic cafe as it changed hands over the years. At one time, the Tap Room was known as the wildest nightspot in Northwest Montana. In the 1970's, the Belton Chalet was listed in the historic register.

The Belton Chalet has been featured on PBS and the Travel Channel and has been immortalized in the following books: Mountain and High Desert Hideaways by Gladys Montgomery, Great Lodges of the National Parks by Christine Bares, Montana's Grandest Historic Hotels and Resorts of the Treasure State by Stan Cohen and View with a Room by Ray Djuff.

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