News

Chateau Lake Louise reopens, rising from the ashes of fire: 97 years ago today


Article content

It all started in 1890 with a tiny log cabin on the unforgettable waters of Lake Louise. That’s where Cornelius Van Horne — the head honcho of Canadian Pacific Railway — built a cabin he named “Chalet Lake Louise,” which attracted about 50 visitors that year.

Article content

As word of the area’s beauty spread, visitor numbers grew. Construction on a new hotel named Chateau Lake Louise began in 1898; additions followed in 1903-04, 1908-09 and 1914. Disaster struck the hotel, however, when a fire roared through the property in 1924.

Calgary Herald, July 4, 1924.
Calgary Herald, July 4, 1924.
Calgary Herald, July 4, 1924
Calgary Herald, July 4, 1924

Canadian Pacific Railway vowed to rebuild the hotel quickly and work continued throughout 1924, even in winter months. To battle the elements, an entire wooden shell was built around the structure of the hotel to provide protection to workers and allow construction to proceed during winter in the mountains. Steam boilers were used to heat the air inside the shell so that concrete could be poured, brick could be laid and gravel could be thawed. Up to 350 men at a time were working on site.

Article content

Calgary Herald, Nov 8, 1924.
Calgary Herald, Nov 8, 1924.
Calgary Herald, Jan. 10, 1925.
Calgary Herald, Jan. 10, 1925.

By spring 1925, it was announced the rebuilt hotel would open June 1.

Calgary Herald, May 9, 1925.
Calgary Herald, May 9, 1925.
Calgary Herald, May 26, 1925.
Calgary Herald, May 26, 1925.

Lords and ladies attended the reopening. Visitors from as far away as Australia, New Zealand and Europe — as well as from across Canada — were among the first guests to register at the rebuilt Chateau Lake Louise. Lighting was subdued; furnishings were tastefully lush; and an orchestra was booked to play for the hotel’s first ball.

Calgary Herald, June 1, 1925.
Calgary Herald, June 1, 1925.

The hotel — now part of the Fairmont hotel group and thus called the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise — attracted many celebrities over the years including Betty Grable, Carmen Miranda, Alfred Hitchcock and Christopher Reeve.

In 1959, Queen Elizabeth visited Chateau Lake Louise. Pictured, she is walking through the grounds at the Chateau. Accompanying her is D.A. Williams, Chateau manager. Postmedia archives.
In 1959, Queen Elizabeth visited Chateau Lake Louise. Pictured, she is walking through the grounds at the Chateau. Accompanying her is D.A. Williams, Chateau manager. Postmedia archives. CALGARY HERALD FILE PHOTO
Chateau Lake Louise in 2004, with the ski hill in the background. Calgary Herald archives.
Chateau Lake Louise in 2004, with the ski hill in the background. Calgary Herald archives. Photo by Peter Brosseau /Calgary Herald

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

close