Love it or hate it, the new paint on the Logan Pass Visitor Center this summer adheres to the original color scheme of the building when it was completed in 1966.
The center in the past few years has always been painted the traditional dark brown of most of the Park Service’s buildings.
But color photographs of the center back in 1966 clearly show the exterior beams painted in a bright bluish-teal color.
On social media, reaction to the new color scheme was a polarized as the country’s politics — folks either loved it or hated it, when the Hungry Horse News put a picture on its Facebook page.
One woman recalled seeing that color scheme when the visitor center first opened.
The center was listed on the National Register of Historic places in 2008. The contract for the center was awarded to the Hefte Construction Company of Spokane, Washington in June 1963.
Work began in July 1963 and stopped in late October for the winter. It resumed in July 1964, running through October, and again in 1965. The visitor center was completed on August 27, 1966.
Work on the center was likely delayed in 1964 due to the tremendous flood the park saw in June of 1964, which washed away parts of the Going-to-the-Sun Road.
A photo on the front page of the Hungry Horse News on July, 17, 1964 shows the main shell of the structure already constructed.
The center was designed by Brinkman and Lenon Architects and Engineers of Kalispell in collaboration with Park Service architects. It was one of many Mission 66 structures built in that time period. Mission 66’s goal was to improve park facilities for visitors and employees before the 50th anniversary of the Park Service in 1966 to meet escalating visitor demands in the post World War II era. The economic boom that followed World War II meant that more American families were able to travel in personal automobiles. This increased mobility led to an increase in the number of visitors at the national parks. Park Service Director Conrad L. Wirth responded to the increase by conceptualizing and implementing the massive multi-year rehabilitation program dubbed Mission 66.