The North and Northeast entrances to Yellowstone National Park will offer free visitor admission Friday through Sunday, Nov. 11-13, to honor all past and current members of the U.S. Armed Forces. All other park entrances and interior roads close at 8 a.m. Monday, Nov. 7.
All entrance fees, including commercial tour entrance fees and transportation entrance fees, will be waived at all National Park Service sites on Veterans Day. Free admission is offered to all visitors, not just to veterans or military personnel.
I work at a hotel. A few guests have asked me about the building in Wapiti Valley, which is on the way to the Yellowstone National Park East Entrance. I didn’t know much about it, have seen it a few times and wondered myself. Today I went for a ride, do people still do that, and thought I’d take a few pictures of it on my way. I also found a blurb about it onlne from a member of the family who lived there. Below is a summary with a link:
“The Smith Mansion is located in Wapiti Valley, Wyoming. It sits approximately 15 miles from the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park. Construction started in 1973. The creator/builder, Francis Lee Smith, was an Architect/Engineer. He spent nearly three decades building his mansion, his life’s work. Smith died while working on the mansion in April of 1992. My name is Sunny Larsen, daughter of Lee Smith and owner of the Smith Mansion. I have taken on a new project, restoring this historical part of Wapiti, the Smith Mansion Preservation Project.
What’s Really Weird
No one knows what it is when they drive by. People are so curious about the house and its purpose. Everyone in the valley gets tired of the same old question. “What is it?” Guesses have included: Pagoda, mine shaft, old mine, the crazy house, weird log house, etc.
The mansion is built primarily by hand tools, handmade pulley systems, and a lot of hard work. It stands high, over 75 feet tall. The mansion is built in the direct center of the valley. All the timbers used in its construction were hand picked from Rattlesnake Mountain, in Cody. Five to seven logs were hauled out at a time, using a small half-ton pick up.”
To see more photos, visit the http://www.smithmansion.webnode.com
Smith had a dream to build a mansion that would fit into its natural surroundings in Wapiti. This is a truly beautiful, wild, and fascinating place. The mansion was Smith’s life’s work. He worked on it every spare minute he had. I grew up in the mansion. Yes, in the mansion! My brother and I had a very strange childhood. No running water and limited electricity. Our only source of heat was a small wood burning stove. This was not only the mansion, but our home.Now I have a dream. I want to preserve the mansion and be able to share it with the public. There is no denying, this place grabs everyone’s attention.
(The pictures of the “Pagoda” in this blog post were taken by me, fourbluehills, AKA Betty J. Tindle, not by any members of the Smith Family. I also DID NOT enter the home. My camera has a small telephoto lens on it and I took this picture near the edge of the property. Please do not enter the home, safety issues. I have no idea of it’s stability.)