THE REAL GREAT NORTHERN HOTEL


At the time of filming in 1989, the interior of the historic Snoqualmie Falls Lodge, built in 1919, was undergoing major renovations. The hotel would soon become the luxurious Salish Lodge and Spa. Only the lodge's exterior was used for the show: the view of the hotel from the falls side, the hotel sign, and the parking lot and main entrance. The most striking part of my trip to the lodge was experiencing Snoqualmie Falls in person. The falls' roaring thunder and clouds of mist are truly unforgettable. I'll never forget the first time I stood there, in awe. It was truly transporting.

What's really interesting, and a bit hard to swallow upon arrival at the Salish Lodge, is that it's actually right up against a highway. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bustling highway by any means, but I always pictured it being a little more nestled in the forest, perhaps at the end of a long wooded drive. In episode 12 they use a never before (or after) seen shot in which they pan from the highway over to the hotel. A section of that shot showing the highway can be seen below.

I had hoped that while staying at the Salish Lodge there'd be something Twin Peaks-ish about its interior –no such luck. However, the hotel is really quite lovely and it's certainly a great place to stay --especially because it's so close to many of the other filming locations. Below, a screen capture of their website and a photo of the lobby.

Here are some photos of the lodge from its earliest days on through to the late 60's, before they expanded.

For the pilot, the interiors of the The Great Northern Hotel were shot at the historic Kiana Lodge, located on the banks of Puget Sound in Poulsbo, WA. The lodge was also used for the interiors and exterior of Josie, Pete and Catherine's house (see The Blue Pine Lodge).

It's remarkable how much mileage they got out of this one building. In many cases, one room was used for more than one location in the show. For instance, this large sitting room was used for both the Horne family dining room and for Benjamin Horne's office.

Another example of a brilliant and economical use of space is the hotel lobby. As the audience, we get most of our impression of the entire hotel from this one room used over and over throughout the pilot.

After the pilot was filmed, all the interiors of the Great Northern were shot on sets built on a soundstage in L.A. These sets were constructed to mimic the original shots from the Kiana Lodge. Below are some examples of the beautiful job they did capturing the mood of the original location.