In a TRAIN? Yes, but more specifically, a caboose.
Located in Essex, MT, in the one of the northern-most parts of the state, the Izaak Walton Inn looks much like a Swiss chalet. The weather might be similar to Switzerland but that’s where the similarities end.
The history of the Izaak Walton is one tied closely with the railroad, more specifically, the Great Northern Railroad. Finding it needed rooms for their employees to sleep, the Great Northern contracted with the Addison Miller company in 1939 to have this inn built so they might better accommodate them. The winters in Northern Montana tend towards the harsh and bitterly cold. In order to keep the line open, the workers needed to be close at all times.
At a cost of $40,000, the Inn was completed and opened in 1939 and it was hoped to become the main entrance to the Glacier National Park. Following World War II, these plans were scrapped but the entrances finally put in place left the inn sitting smack in the middle; as such, it became known as “The Inn Between”. However, wishing to maintain an air of solidarity with the Native American history of the area, the suggestion was made to name the hotel after Izaak Walton, a renowned 17th century writer whose most widely read book, “The Compleat Angler”, extolled the virtues of both the art and the spirit of fishing in verse. Due to Izaak Walton’s reverance for the outdoors, an official conservation group assigned his name to their organization. It was hoped that by naming the inn after him, it would encourage fishing and tourism alive in the area.
While many might consider the Izaak Walton to be an inn like any other, the opposite is true. The interior of the hotel is one of oppulence by early 20th Century standards. At the time of building there were 29 rooms, ten bathrooms, a dining room (complete with a 4,000 pound cook stove), a drying room and general store. After the railroad discontinued their contract with the Addison Miller Company in 1952, the stayed with the hotel. However, the inn passed hands several times until finally landing in the care and ownership of the current owners, Larry and Linda Vielleux.
The Vielleux family wished to remain an inn from a long ago era when men were rough but still wanted a bath. They continue to offer comfort and have added six “rooms” to the inn – train cars. If you love railroads, this is the place to plan your next getaway!
Montana is well-known for its skiing, hunting and fishing and the inn wishes to help visitor’s achieve their dreams of trophy sized catches. But, if you fail to land a good-sized trout for dinner, the dining room is always willing to serve up a plate of their Ruby Red Rainbow Trout with a zesty lemon-pepper pesto.
Whether you’re there to ski, hunt, fish or relax (which the inn staff helps out with as much as humanly possible), the Izaak Walton Inn has it all, and then some. Being located so near the Glacier National Park assures families as well as singles and empty nesters will enjoy their stay.