Boulder Hot Springs Inn
A Montana landmark since its establishment in 1863, this historic hotel located just to the south of Boulder. The hotel's main attraction from the Civil War era to the present has been the nearby hot springs that supply geothermal water to the inn's pools (including an outdoor pool), steam rooms, and plunges. The inn has hosted celebrities, wealthy ranchers, and American Presidents Warren Harding, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and, supposedly, President Theodore Roosevelt. In terms of architecture, the inn exhibits Queen Anne, Moorish, and Spanish Colonial Revival styles. Today the inn also serves as a spa and retreat center and is available to rent for weddings and other events. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
Backstory and Context
The inn's origins date back to 1864 when gold prospector James E. Riley filed claim to the hot springs. The small bath house and saloon he built the next year served local ranchers, miners and prospectors. After Riley died from smallpox in 1882, the next owners, Abel C. Quaintance and Cornelius Griswold, built the original part of the current hotel. Subsequent owners expanded it to its present size and appearance. In addition to hot springs facilities, there was also a building that had a dance floor, billiard room, gym, and a bar (this building no longer exists). The natural surroundings also offered guests opportunities to hike, hunt, and fish (guests continue to enjoy outdoor activities today). In 1990, the new owner at the time, Ann Wilson Schaef, renovated the hotel and the current owners have made further improvements.
"History of Boulder Hot Springs Inn, Spa and Retreat Center." Boulder Hot Springs Inn. Accessed June 25, 2020. https://boulderhotsprings.com/about-the-inn/history-of-boulder-hot-springs.
Vinson, Edrie & Lewin, Stuart F. "Boulder Hot Springs." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. January 12, 1979. https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/NRHP/79001403_text.
All photos via Boulder Hot Springs Inn