Friday, August 23, 2013

My Office, The Treasure Chest

By: Cassandra Sunell

Currently, I am the marketing and social media coordinator for Glacier Park, Inc. (GPI), and my office is located adjacent to GPI’s Grouse Mountain Lodge property in Whitefish, Montana.  I am in a typical office with a computer, desk, corkboard, and an awful relationship with the printer. However, as I look out my window, I can see (literally as I am typing this) a family of deer eating away at the grass. I can also see the eastern tip of Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort in the background, hear the sound of golf balls being hit from the 17th tee-box at Whitefish Lake Golf Course, and smell the wildflowers surrounding the property.

The treasures that lie outside my office are simply remarkable and I don’t take any of them for granted at all, but I have  found great admiration for the treasures inside my office  as well. Upon my first week of working at GPI, I was left a box of historic photos, books, post cards, letters, and other Glacier National Park memorabilia dating before 1913. I use many of these photos for our “Throwback Thursday” posts on our social media platforms, so Wednesdays have become nearly one of my favorite days of the week, as I dive into stories from the past.  I often state that Wednesdays are when I open up the “Treasure Chest.”

One of the photographers, whose album photos date back to the1920s, is Doctor Ector Boscatti.   Dr. Boscatti worked as a Red Bus “Jammer” driver during his summer breaks from the University of Oregon Medical School. From the photos, you can see he climbed nearly every ridge across the park and had some extraordinary journeys with many other drivers and workers from the various lodges. Another “Treasure Chest” find includes a series of postcards that have been addressed to a woman named Ella in Wisconsin, from a gentleman named Ray from Midvale, Montana. It appears he had helped in the construction of Glacier Park Lodge, as he describes the extreme weather building the lodge and then later on tells stories of his backpacking trips and boat rides in 1913.

Looking through the photos and reading the personal stories has been a unique experience, as I  now walk in the same lodges, climb the same trails, and  capture the same photos nearly a century later. It’s mystifying to ponder that those who worked in and around the park, had the same enamor for their jobs and the park’s  remarkable surroundings, but didn’t have the ability to share their experiences like I am able to now via the internet. I have the opportunity every week to reach into my “Treasure Chest” an
d share their stories with the world—stories that may have only been told to a small number of people.

In recent weeks, the development that GPI’s near 32-year contract to operate the concessions in Glacier National Park is not being renewed at the end of this year has come as a shock to many, including myself. We take great pride in the opportunity we’ve had to work at many of Glacier National Park’s properties—it has been an honor. The loss is disappointing; however, moving forward, we are excited to continue making long-lasting memories as the “Gateway to Glacier” at GPI’s many owned lodges and properties in and around the national park—Grouse Mountain Lodge, the Princes of Wales Hotel, Glacier Park Lodge, St. Mary Lodge, Cabins and Motel, and the Stewart Hotel—so that a century from now, someone else at GPI will have a “Treasure Chest” to dig through on Wednesdays. 

1 comment:

  1. As a previous employee for 10 years at the Prince of Wales and as my husband is full-time GPI employee for 22 years we has a great love for all of the current and soon former properties. Thanks for your blog - it is amazing and keeps the memories alive.