Legacy of the Empire Builder

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Legacy of the Empire Builder: Glacier National Park, the Great Northern Railway, and the Pacific NW

Historian and journalist Justin Franz will discuss the legacy of one of the Northwest’s most important transcontinental railways, the Great Northern, and its iconoclastic leader, James J. Hill. Franz will focus on two areas of the Great Northern’s history. First is the railway’s relationship with Glacier National Park, created by the Great Northern in 1910, and endowed with numerous lodges in a grand chalet style that anticipated the development of Cascadian architecture. Second is the history of the Empire Builder, a train named after Hill, that for over 90 years has served as a vital link to communities, including Portland and Seattle. Both the park and the train remain powerful legacies throughout the Northwest. Based in Whitefish, Montana, Franz writes for the Flathead Beacon newspaper in additon to being a national correspondant for Trains Magazine. His work has also appeared in the Washington Post, Atlas Obscura, and Railfan & Railroad Magazine.

This talk is supported by the Center for Railroad Photography & Art, in conjunction with the After Promontory exhibit.

This lecture program is held at the Architectural Heritage Center – 701 SE Grand Avenue

Seating is Limited. Pre-Registration is Highly Recommended.

Parking is on-street (free on Saturdays) or in the parking lot on the west side of Grand Avenue between SE Yamhill and Belmont Streets – just to the north of Urbanite. Thank you to Bolliger and Sons Insurance for sharing their lot with us for our evening and Saturday education programs.

$20.00 – General Public
$12.00 – AHC Members

About the Architectural Heritage Center
The Architectural Heritage Center’s mission is to “inspire people to conserve the art, craft, and context of historic buildings and places to promote our cultural heritage as a vital element of livable, sustainable, communities.” We seek to preserve the historic character and livability of our built environment, and to promote sustainability through the re-use of period homes and buildings.

Owned and operated by the non-profit Bosco-Milligan Foundation, we empower people in the Portland region to preserve both landmark buildings and the regular “vernacular” vintage homes and storefronts that collectively define our neighborhoods, traditional downtowns, culture, history, and quality of life.

Cover image: Fred H. Kiser, Train station and hotel, Belton, Montana (1911). BA021212, Oregon Historical Society Library.


Event Detail

November 9, 2019 10:00 am
November 9, 2019 11:30 am


Architectural Heritage Center