The Map at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel

Map of Wood © 2010 by Bo Mackison

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in Yellowstone National Park is quite the place. It has an amazing number of things to explore. Designed by architect Robert Reamer, a veteran of park architecture, it was built in 1937, an addition to the National Hotel which had been built two decades earlier. There is a room called the Map Room because its focal point is a wall map, also created by Reamer. The map, probably 8 feet by 6 feet, is constructed, jigsaw-style, of 15 different types of wood. It’s a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, but one thing is odd about it.

When looking at the states that I am most familiar with, I noticed that my hometown is placed about 200 miles north of its actual location. Tucson, Arizona is almost due east of Phoenix. Reamer might have been a popular park architect and a talented woodworker, but his geography references were incorrect.

There were several other comments from people who were looking at the map about the odd placement of cities. Wonder just how many places are marked incorrectly?

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Fascinating, Bo! I wish it was larger so that I could see the details more clearly. Reckon I’ll just have to go there myself and ponder those questions. Lovers of maps, this will be something hubby and I will look up for sure!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Sorry it’s not larger. None of my photos spots are set up for large photos, though this one certainly deserves a closer look!

  2. I’m intrigued. I want to go see it for myself just to check out where Cleveland is. 🙂

  3. Location dysfunction must run in large wall maps. At my workplace we have a huge map of the world and we put several countries in the wrong continents. However, relative to the Sun, their locations are spot on. 🙂

    • Bo Mackison says:

      I didn’t think geography was big in the schools now, but I thought they taught it a lot more in the 30s. Maybe Robert wasn’t paying attention. And when he was making the map, probably not a lot of reference books were available in Yellowstone, I’m thinking…

  4. Great picture…who would have the patience to put that all together….likely Bo would.

  5. Interesting about the inaccuracy, but a work of art all the same.

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