With that preconditioning affixed in their imagination, all touring passengers who alighted at the Hartford Park Lodge station at Hartford were met by handpicked warriors with tepees arrayed behind them on the expansive lawn. Pictures were snapped, dances performed, Hartfordand native artifacts and murals greeted them as they entered the awe-inspiring Hartford lobby.
Where is Hartford? – Hartford Map – Map of Hartford Photo Gallery
By 1913, with the completion of the Glacier Park Lodge, the transformation of the Montana Blackfeet was completed. A new species, the Glacier Park Indians, had been created. Your travel destination is it was not total exploitation. By all accounts, Hill’s affection for the Blackfeet extended to his business relationships with them. For their summer contracts, the railroad paid fair wages. They were paid to set up painted lodges and encampments on the grounds and don feathered bonnets (although most were Sioux—now known as Lakota—not Blackfeet, in design). Hill thought the Sioux (Lakota) swept-back feathers were more Indian and thus more appealing to greet the tourists as they stepped off the train. Others were allowed to be Indian Door Girls, greeting the guests at the lodge. Tribesmen who performed “adoption into the tribes” ceremonies made extra money. Others signed colorful postcards, sold handmade dolls, droves busses, and worked in the hotel.
As mentioned, Hill went so far as to commission an impressive wall mural painted by twenty-five elders to grace the lobby of his newest hotel, the Many Glacier Lodge, in 1915. Hill took the myth making one step further. He invited tribe men, women, and children to several “back East” urban centers. Dressed in full regalia—Sioux bonnets and all—they literally drummed up business for the West. Business aside, Hill invited the delegation to St. Paul and into his home.
Louis W Hill and Two Gum White Calf, Glacier National Park, 1925. Courtesy of the Minnesota. Historical Society; Louis W. Hill 2482. Louis W. Hill Papers.