In 1862, a group of men from a Minnesota Masonic Lodge met in the breathtaking Montana Rockies. In the early 1900’s they built and used the “Belton Masonic Lodge” to stay in while they played in and explored Glacier Park. Originally located on the site of West Glacier Elementary School, behind the train station at West Glacier (or Belton, as it was then known), the lodge was not open to the public during this time.
Our Lodge began its life of service to the community as one of the original visitor centers for guests to Glacier National Park arriving by train at West Glacier until 1949 when, with the formation of West Glacier and the decision to build a school in the area, the lodge was sold. Purchased by the Rowles family, it was dismantled log by log and moved via logging trucks to its present location. Prior to the arrival of the lodge, the only building on the property was a trapper’s cabin located in the current position of the Griz cabin.
The lodge was rebuilt by its new owner and was the home of the Rowles family for many years. The whole family lived in one room of the lodge during the busy summer months and retreated to Columbia Falls during the winter and operated the lodge itself as a restaurant famous for its chicken dinners and TV (which in those days, even with static snow, was quite the attraction!).
The Lodge has always played host to travelers and passers by and served the local community as a meeting place. Through the years it has hosted many weddings, dances and social gatherings and was even once used as a roller skating rink. Since its reconstruction the lodge has served as a shelter from the elements, a playground for school children and now a relaxing lodge for family and friends to bond and create memories.
Stories of black bears in the well house, escaped llamas and construction drama are also a charming part of its history and identity and we are always interested to hear the personal stories of past owners and our guests who now visit from all over the world.
Today, the lodge continues to provide guests a truly wonderful experience in keeping with the spirit of the Montana Mountains in which it resides. Four Glacier National Park themed lodge rooms provide accommodation within the lodge itself for our guests to experience a taste of traditional mountain living. All our guests have access to the lodge great room and amenities.
About the photos on the left, starting at the top:
- Belton, MT in its heyday. Taken from Hill above Belton Chalets, shows chalet buildings in foreground, railroad depot in foreground, center; Belton Merc. Co. and Hotel and several buildings across RR tracks; Belton Hills in background. Date: 1920. Photographer: Ted Marble.
- Black and white postcard of Masonic Hall in Belton, MT. Log structure relocated to Martin City, now Tamarack Lodge. Date: circa 1920. Photographer: Ted Marble.
- Town of Belton, Montana. Date: June 1929. Photographer: unknown.