The Great Northern Railway completed its line over Marias Pass and into the Flathead Valley in 1891. At that time a stop was established at Milepost 1196 and designated Belton after an early settler named Bell, and a small community grew around the station. A boxcar was set off the tracks and with various modifications served as a station until 1910.
Taken by the surroundings, Louis W. Hill, son of the Great Northern Railroad magnate James J Hill, imagined a series of lodges, chalets and camps that would funnel wealthy railroad passengers from the East to magnificent mountain vistas, rivaling the great tours of Switzerland. In 1909 the Great Northern Railway authorized construction of a new depot at Belton and a 42x37' hotel to be located adjacent to it.
On June 27, 1910, the Great Northern Railway opened the doors to the first of Louis Hill's grand tourist hotels, the Belton Chalet. It was the same year Glacier National Park was dedicated by President Taft as the 10th National Park. Two cottages were finished in 1911 and the original dormitory, now known as the Lodge, was opened in 1913, and all were furnished with Arts and Crafts style interiors freighted in from St. Paul. Belton Chalets were the first and only permanent hotel facilities in the front country on the west side of Glacier National Park until 1929.