Dinner In Yellowstone: 1908 – 1930


The elite underpinnings of Yellowstone National Park are worth revisiting, if only for the nostalgic value and the lessons that can be learned.

Most visitors to Yellowstone in the early days expected that the best of contemporary civilization would be available – even in the wilderness. They demanded comforts and amenities commensurate with their station in life. The Railroads and concessionaires did their best to comply. They catered to the “upper crust” and the remunerations were commensurate with the amenities.

If you were wealthy enough to be at Lake Hotel in 1908 you would be able to enjoy the following dinner, (original spellings retained.)


Tomatoe Bouillon Sago
Potage a’la Maryland


Dressed Lettuce, Sweet Gherkins,
Corn relish


Baked Lake Trout a’la bordeleise,
pomme Louise


Boiled Brisket of Beef, Fresh Horseradish Sauce
Boufalon Potatoes,
Lamb kidneys saute a’la Rachel,
Chocolate Cream Fritters,
Almond Sauce


Roast Prime Ribs of Beef au Jus
Roast Leg of Pork with Apple Sauce


Mashed Potatoes, Boiled New Potatoes
Carrotes a’la Vichy, French Green Peas


Spanish Salade


Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie Sago, Pudding Cream Sauce,
Apricot Sherbert, Assorted Cakes
Imperiant Turkish Figs


Eastern Cheese, Toasted Biscuits
Coffee, Cocoa, Tea, Milk

By 1930 elegance was rampant, and the dinner at Old Faithful Was a full seven courses: and a string quartet thrown in for good measure, (preceded by dinner music from the “crow’s nest.”)

Dinner was announced by the ringing of a bell in the lobby, and of course guests were expected to ‘dress.

No ‘walk-ins,’ no ‘general public,’ no decisions, no complaints, no waiting; just a perfectly planned and executed experience. (Original spellings retained.)

Cream of Tomato, Salt Wafers
Consomme in Tasse, Melba Toast

Sweet Pickles, Radishes, Ripe Olives


Fried Filet of Sole with Tarter Sauce
Boiled Ham with Green Spinach
Broiled Sirloin Steak Maitre de Hotel
Compot of Rice with Fresh Fruit Sauce
Chicken Fricassee with Steamed Rice


Mashed Potatoes, Cauliflower au Graten,
Candied Sweet Potatoes,
Carrots Saute in Butter



Sliced Tomatoes French Dressing
Heart of Lettuce Salad 1000 Island Dressing


French, Raisin, Rye, and Wheat Bread



Maple Cream Puffs, Hot Mince Pie,
Melba Peaches, Table Apples,
Chocolate Ice Cream,
Assorted Cookies


American, Swiss or Cottage Cheese, Crackers

Coffee, Postum, Tea, Milk, Iced Tea,
Cocoa, Demi Tassee

Old Faithful Inn
Sunday, August 31, 1930
Lectures by Ranger Naturalist on the Geysers, history,
bears, etc., at Bear Feeding Grounds at 7:00 p.m.: at
Museum at 8:15 p.m.

Searchlight on Old Faithful Geyser
Time announced in lobby.

I really like the “searchlight on Old Faithful Geyser,” bit. Now, that was dinner. A single sitting, come dressed, just the members of your own class, hotel guests only, enough wait staff to present a seven course meal, a bit of music, lecture by a pet ranger, feed Yogi, and a stroll on the veranda.

And a delicious evening was had by all.


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