Colter Bay Village: Understanding the Historic Significance of the Recent Past in Grand Teton National Park

by Elizabeth Engle

Jan 1, 2010
My research at the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) was conducted to inform a National Register of Historic Places nomination for Colter Bay Village in Grand Teton National Park. Dedicated in 1957, Colter Bay Village centralized visitor services in the park, offering rustic log cabin accommodations, one of the first trailer camps in a national park, an innovative "tent village," a cafeteria and general store, the first Laundromat in a national park, a shower building, a marina and boat ramp, a picnic area, an amphitheater, two service stations, and a visitor center and museum, all in one fully planned and carefully designed site. Jointly funded by the National Park Service and the Grand Teton Lodge Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of the John D. Rockefeller founded and Laurance S. Rockefeller led non-profit Jackson Hole Preserve, Inc., Colter Bay Village was immediately praised as "the first [effort] toward a completely rounded and integrated series of facilities" in the national park system, and a pilot project in the nationwide Mission 66 program.1 What I hoped to understand through research at the RAC was whether Colter Bay Village was historically significant and eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
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