Glacier National Park: Mural Restoration Project

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Latitude: 48.195937 Longitude: -114.309883 Elevation: 2960 ft

A Short Introduction to the Site

In the 1950s, when the Glacier National Park Lodges were remodeled, the new design required the removal of the murals except where a select few were left to provide “needed color accents”. The murals were cut from the moldings, removed from their panels, rolled up and discarded. Leona and Robert Brown of East Glacier saved fifteen of the murals and stored them at their home. The murals were passed down to their granddaughter Leanne and her husband Alan Goldhahn. In September of 2012, Leanne donated the murals to the Hockaday in memory of her grandparents, Leona and Robert Brown.

With generous help from the community, individual donors, and foundations, the Hockaday is now restoring all fifteen majestic murals to their original splendor and finding public places where these works can be enjoyed by many.  The first few restored murals are on permanent display at the Museum while two others are on loan to the O'Shaughnessy Center in Whitefish, Montana.

Full Description of the Historical Site or Museum

The History of the Murals
Early visitors to Glacier Park Lodge were treated to architectural and visual grandeur inside the building that was almost as expansive as the surrounding landscape. Louis Hill, President of the Great Northern Railway, favored eclectic Victorian and Western themes and filled the Lodge with paintings, photographs, and artifacts. The murals were commissioned to fill the long horizontal spaces above the wainscoting.

The murals appear to be created from photographs and were painted using water based tempera on canvas stretched on panel. The scenic panels covered hundreds of square feet and appeared in a 1939 Glacier Park Lodge inventory as "51 watercolor panels”. There is some evidence that John Fery, the most famous of the Glacier National Park artists, intended to paint these panels as he had drawn up some preliminary sketches. Instead, Hill decided to hire a muralist to expedite the process.

It is apparent there was a second mystery artist whose work decorated the lobbies and public areas of Glacier Park Lodge. The paintings are not signed and unfortunately, there is no history or record of who the artist was. There are numbers and locations on the backs of the panels identifying where they were hung in Glacier Park Lodge.

All of the Glacier National Park Lodges were remodeled in the 1950’s. The new design required the removal of the murals except where a select few were left to provide “needed color accents”. The murals were cut from the moldings, removed from their panels, rolled up and discarded. Leona and Robert Brown of East Glacier saved fifteen of the murals and stored them at their home. The murals were passed down to their granddaughter Leanne and her husband Alan Goldhahn. In September of 2012, Leanne donated the murals to the Hockaday in memory of her grandparents, Leona and Robert Brown.

More information: Mural Restoration Project at the Hockaday

 



Open Months

The Hockaday is open year-round.

Hours Open

The Hockaday is open Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM.

Driving Directions from Nearest Town or Landmark

The Hockaday Museum of Art is located two blocks east of historic downtown Kalispell's Main Street at the corner of 2nd Avenue East and 3rd Street.  To access our parking lot, proceed east on 4th Street and turn north onto 2nd Avenue East.

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