103-Year-Old Sperry Chalet in Glacier National Park, MT Burned Down in Sprague Fire Yesterday

Firebrains | FireFire
The Sperry Chalet in Glacier National Park, MT being threatened by the Sprague Fire on August 27th, 2017.  The fire burnt down the chalet on August 31st, 2017.

The 103-year-old Sperry Chalet burned down yesterday in Glacier National Park, MT.

“Thursday afternoon at approximately 6:00 pm, the main building at the Sperry Chalet was lost to the Sprague Fire.” – Glacier National Park, yesterday

Sperry Chalet.  photo:  nps, 1985

The hut was built in 1914 and was one of the most interesting and historic buildings in our National Park system.

“The chalet was opened in 1914 by the Great Northern Railway and was a National Historic Landmark contributing property, being one of five structures in the Great Northern Railway Buildings National Historic Landmark.” – Wikipedia

“This afternoon high winds increased the fire activity on the Sprague Fire and, as was previously announced, Sperry Chalet was lost to the fire. This video [above] shows two time lapse sequences taken this afternoon from Apgar. The first is about an hour condensed into 13 seconds and the second closer view is about 45 minutes condensed into about 40 seconds. (bh)” – Glacier National Park, MT on August 31st, 2017

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK PRESS RELEASE:

August 31st, 2017

Thursday afternoon at approximately 6:00 pm, the main building at the Sperry Chalet was lost to the Sprague Fire. A highly skilled group of firefighters were staged at the Sperry Chalet over the last week. Those firefighters had an extensive hose lay, sprinkler, and pump system installed to protect all of the structures associated with the Chalet. The high winds experienced this afternoon pushed the fire to the east. The firefighters, supported by 3 helicopters, made a valiant stand to save the structure but were unsuccessful in saving the main Sperry Chalet. The firefighters remain on site, ARE SAFE, and are currently actively engaged in protecting the remaining structures. (DS)

 

“This afternoon’s billows of smoke died down a bit this evening. After dark the glow of the Sprague Fire could be seen from many locations around Lake McDonald. (bh)” – GNP on September 1st, 2017

SPERRY HUT INFO:

Sperry Chalet was located about seven miles east of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park in the U.S. state of Montana. The chalet was opened in 1914 by the Great Northern Railway and was a National Historic Landmark contributing property, being one of five structures in the Great Northern Railway Buildings National Historic Landmark. Along with Granite Park Chalet, Sperry Chalet was one of the two remaining backcountry chalets in Glacier National Park, both operated by Belton Chalets, Inc.

The chalet was reached only by trail, via hiking or horseback. One of the two trails leading to the chalet was the Sperry Trail, which starts at the Lake McDonald Lodge parking lot and stretches 6.7 miles to the chalet, climbing 3200 feet in the process. The trail passes along the base of Mount Brown and over the west ridge of Mount Edwards, with views of U-shaped valleys along the way. A side trip to Sperry Glacier is also possible, being a 4-mile hike (8 miles round trip). The other means of accessing the chalet was via the Gunsight Trail, which is a 12.1-mile hike from the Jackson Glacier Overlook on Going-to-the-Sun Road. This hike averages 9 hours, so it was important to plan ahead.[2]

The chalet, nestled in a glacial cirque, consisted of two buildings from the Great Northern era: a two-story hotel building and a kitchen/dining room building. A restroom facility had been added, but was not part of the historic landmark designation. The dormitory building, completed in 1913, was built with random rubble masonry, providing a feel of architectural ruggedness, and was topped with a large gable roof that had two dormers on either side. The kitchen building, completed in 1912, was also made of random rubble masonry, but used smaller stones and appears less striking in its design. The kitchen building was topped with a lower gable roof.

Unlike Granite Park Chalet, Sperry Chalet provided traditional meal service: dinner, breakfast, and either a trail lunch or an ala carte lunch in the dining room. The guest rooms were private, but in line with the backcountry experience, there was no electricity or heat. There was running water at the bathroom facility.

On August 31, 2017 the Sperry Chalet burned to the ground during the Sprague wildfire. However the chalet will be rebuilt in the future according to the park service.

“Current smoke levels in Glacier National Park vary depending on the time of day and your location in the park. The smoke is coming from the #SpragueFire and from other fires throughout the Northwest and Canada.” – GNP on August 30th, 2017

 


Related Articles

3 thoughts on “103-Year-Old Sperry Chalet in Glacier National Park, MT Burned Down in Sprague Fire Yesterday

    1. The chalet actually lit up from an ember shower. The embers entered the building and burned it from the inside out. The pictures show green grass/shrubs next to it after it burned down.

Got an opinion? Let us know...