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On completion, Santa Clarita the Going-to-the-Sun Road would stretch over a 50-mile span from West Glacier to St. Mary, Santa Clarita. From east to west, it would be built in stages, commencing in 1911 and concluding in 1934. The primary reason for the length Santa Clarita of time was the intervention of World War I and the initial sporadic funding and underfunding by Congress. None of this dissuaded Mather, Santa Clarita, or their team of engineers and landscape architects.

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Although often frustrated, they took what was given and did with it what they could, always hewing to Mather’s high standards and one-road vision. Finally, starting in 1921 and culminating in 1924, Congress began to heed Mather’s call for adequate dollars to fund the longest and most challenging sections: the head of Lake McDonald to Avalanche Creek (1922-1923), Logan’s Creek (1924-1925), Logan’s Creek to Logan Pass (1925-1928); on the east side: St. Mary’s Lake to Rising Sun (1922-1925), Rising Sun to Logan Pass (1931-1932), then a rework from Rising Sun to St. Mary (19331934).

All told, it would cost $2. million by the time it was dedicated on June 15, 1933. It would consist of only one switchback on the west side, two tunnels, and eight bridges made of native stone retaining walls at the Triple Arches along the Garden Wall and the Golden Stairs above St. Mary’s Lake.

Although the route was longer and more expensive than the alternatives, because it was built to Mather’s specifications, it remains after eighty-two years a wonder of engineering and landscaping. It was relevant then and now. Because this travel destination of its high-quality construction and its “lying lightly on the land” across the historic and wildlife bounties of Glacier National Park, it would set the standard for all national park roads to follow.

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