Walt Kochansky, General Manager
St. Mary Lodge & Resort
Margaret Black, husband built cabins in 1932 as Going-to-the-Sun Road was completed
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, St. Mary, Mont. (July 12, 2007) – Seventy-five years ago, Margaret Black spent a summer at Glacier National Park that would change her life forever.
First she married Hugh Black, a Michigan native who had ditched his career as a medical student to become a park ranger. During several summers at Glacier, Hugh had taken a liking to the area – and to Margaret, who was working as secretary at the Glacier Park Hotel.
The newlyweds quickly decided to lease some land and build cabins at St. Mary Lake, near the eastern entrance to the park, to accommodate the influx of new tourists expected after completion of Going-to-the-Sun Road. The 50-mile road, an engineering marvel cutting through the park’s majestic mountains and sweeping valleys, opened that October and was dedicated the following July.
Margaret and Hugh Black’s cabin venture that summer of 1932 proved to be a wise one. The tourists came and kept coming.
Over the next seven decades, what began with six cabins would become the St. Mary Lodge & Resort, acclaimed as one of the best resorts for experiencing Glacier National Park’s stunning natural beauty.
Now 104 years old, Margaret Black returned again in June to spend yet another summer at the St. Mary Lodge & Resort. The rest of the year she lives 90 miles away in Kalispell, Mont. with her daughter Sally.
Besides 1932 and the completion of Going-to-the-Sun Road, Margaret Black can tell you about the six children she and Hugh raised while working to expand and manage the lodge. They endured some tough years due to World War II gas rationing and the impact on tourism of a few brutal storms and summer wildfires. Oh, and in 1976, one of their sons and a few friends were nearly mauled to death by a grizzly bear.
She will also tell you about 1954, when the new lodge building had a very special guest: a president….Well, a future one, at least. Ronald Reagan stayed there during the filming of one of his westerns, 1954’s “Cattle Queen of Montana.” Reagan even took one of Margaret’s sons fishing.
It has been almost 25 years since Hugh Black died – he’s buried nearby in the village of St. Mary – but Margaret still owns the lodge. Last year, after seven decades of family management, Margaret turned to Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts to take over the operation.
About St. Mary Lodge and Resort
St. Mary Lodge & Resort is located at the eastern entrance to Glacier National Park on Going to the Sun Road, a National Historic Landmark. More than 2 million people visit the park each year, and Glacier is often cited with Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon as the most beautiful U.S. national parks. Delaware North began managing the Montana resort in 2006, which features 117 rooms in various lodges, cabins, and cottages, as well as a café and highly regarded restaurant, the Snowgoose Grille. The restaurant features elegant views of the mountains and preparation of unique wild game entrées such as and grilled buffalo rib eye steaks and elk. Open each May through September, St. Mary offers a number of guest packages for experiencing the park. More information is available at www.stmarylodgeandresort.com.
About Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts
Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts is a subsidiary of Delaware North Companies, a leading hospitality provider with significant experience in hotel, retail, food service, recreation and transportation operations. The company’s portfolio includes historic properties in North America, such as Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex; Yosemite, Sequoia, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon national parks; Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds; Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite; Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa; Niagara Falls State Park; Jones Beach; Old Town San Diego; The Lodge & Conference Center at Geneva-on-the-Lake; The BALSAMS Grand Resort Hotel. To learn more about Delaware North Companies’ expertise in the hospitality industry, visit www.dnchospitalitymgt.com.
About Delaware North Companies
Delaware North Companies is one of the world’s leading hospitality and food service providers. Its family of companies includes Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment, Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services, Delaware North Companies Sportservice, Delaware North Companies International and Delaware North Companies Boston, which owns and operates TD Banknorth Garden. Delaware North Companies is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States with revenues approaching $2 billion annually and 40,000 associates serving half a billion customers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. For more information, visit www.DelawareNorth.com.