The Paradise Inn at Mount Rainier
Nestled in the heart of Paradise, the Paradise Inn at Mount Rainier is a destination sure to be well worth the visit. At an elevation of 5,420 feet, its unique location takes advantage of the breathtaking views of the Tatoosh mountain range, Mount Rainier, and the blossoming meadows of the Valley. It is also conveniently near the Jackson Visitor Center and numerous hiking trails.
Built in 1917, the Paradise Inn is one of the oldest living structures around Mount Rainier. It is known as one of the oldest elevated mountain resorts in the nation and in 1987 was declared a National Historic Landmark. Over its ninety-some year history, the Paradise Inn has housed a number of famous guests, from Shirley Temple to President Harry S. Truman to the crown prince of Norway, proving that the lovely Paradise Valley landscape is truly fit for a king.
Much of the beauty of the Paradise Inn’s architecture comes from the unique materials used to build it. The exposed framework is comprised of naturally-weathered Alaskan cedar from the slopes of the mountain itself, which has acquired an unusual silvery sheen from years of exposure to the elements, while the foundation is made from the stone of nearby quarries. It was designed after the popular “National Park Service Rustic” style of architecture, in which the structure is made to blend in with and enhance the natural beauty of the surrounding area. One of the most striking features of the Inn is the steeply gabled roof stretching from end to end: making up most of the two and a half stories, it was painted a naturally-hued green, and the shingles used were meant to be reminiscent of the Tatoosh mountain range.
Over the course of the years, however, many changes had been made to Paradise Inn to change it from its original design. The original rooms within the Inn had been sectioned off into smaller rooms, an entire annex had been added on to the original building, and years of harsh snow conditions had taken their toll as well. Prior to the renovation, the building was tilting several inches and needed to be stabilized. Reinforced concrete and foundation repairs were added throughout the building in addition to earthquake precautions.
Part of the renovation involved the preservation of the historic fireplaces in the building. Each rock from the fireplace was numbered and labeled before being taken apart and reconstructed in the exact same arrangement. Extensive amounts of pictures were taken to ensure the Inn was restored to its original design. Historical photos from the Inn’s past were also used to determine how the Inn looked 90 years ago.
The Paradise Inn features a post office, a gift shop, a restaurant, and 117 guest rooms within its walls. Since the renovation in 2006, the Inn holds much of the charm of its early construction. The woodwork and much of the handmade furniture, including a fourteen-foot-tall grandfather clock and a rustic grand piano once played by President Harry S. Truman, were crafted by German carpenter Hans Fraehnke. A trip to the Paradise Inn will give any visitor the chance to experience first hand a beloved piece of Mount Rainier history.