Filed Under Apgar

Burton and Lulu Wheeler Cabin

Montana's dynamic Democratic senator Burton K. Wheeler rose to prominence as a Butte attorney and was one of the leading progressives. He served in the Senate from 1923 to 1947. During his turbulent political career he championed labor unions and freedom of speech, shaped key New Deal legislation, and successfully opposed President Franklin Roosevelt's scheme to expand the Supreme Court. Never one to shy away from controversy, he once boasted: “I've been accused of almost everything except timidity." In 1915, he first visited Lake McDonald with his wife Lulu, an active and influential force in her husband's career. The following year the Wheelers leased land and purchased a cabin in the park. Although Glacier offered a refuge from politics, Wheeler often engaged in working vacations. He authored some of his important bills here, including legislation establishing self rule on Indian reservations and regulating public utilities. Wheeler also took a special interest in the park's welfare and, among other initiatives, was instrumental in securing appropriations for the Going-to-the-Sun Highway. The Wheelers’ cabin burned in 1941. Lulu immediately began to design a replacement, supervising its construction the following year. Her plans for the new cabin captured the spirit of the family's lost landmark while following the signature Rustic Style of the National Park Service. Using local materials, she emphasized the importance of privacy, quality of view, and natural environment to reflect an unpretentious "democratic" life style.


Burton and Lulu Wheeler Cabin
Burton and Lulu Wheeler Cabin Burton and Lulu Wheeler Cabin. Side to front view of the cabin structure, facing west from the west shore of Lake McDonald near Apgar, Montana in Glacier National Park. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Date unknown


Near Apgar, Glacier National Park, Montana | Private


The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Burton and Lulu Wheeler Cabin,” Historic Montana, accessed May 30, 2024,