It was interesting to see how much of the building of the new Old Faithful Visitor center had progressed over the summer. By the last visit a few weeks ago, it was apparent that the naked steel beams make it look like it's going to be a massive block sitting there. Maybe not as ugly as the old visitor center, but right now it sure doesn't look like much of an improvement, either. But will have to wait until next year to see how right or wrong that impression has been.
I also discovered that, unlike the old building, the new one will be named after someone. In this case, a someone who has no connection to the Old Faithful area or geyser. A person to be honored for... being the bureaucrat who pushed to get the new building built. A person who is not dead. A person who is still working for the National Park Service at the park headquarters in Mammoth. Talk about an advanced case of Monument Syndrome.
One naming tradition of Yellowstone is that geysers and other thermal features are supposed to never be named after persons. Sure it was violated a few times, and those examples, if anything, help reinforce this tradition. Fortunately, the days when the superintendent can go about naming just about one of every type of landmark after himself are gone, and we should not be resurrecting them by proxy.
Considering that the focus of the area is Old Faithful, the geyser, why is it necessary to name this building after anyone? It's not the Robert Reamer Inn. Sure all the other major buildings in the area are named after Old Faithful, and that can be a bit confusing if you don't quite get the difference between "lodge", "snowlodge" and "inn." Yet there has not been a need to differentiate them by naming any of them after people, living or dead. Visitors have never had a problem figuring what "Visitor Center" meant. (As for "Lower Hamilton's Store", that's a descriptive term there, referring to the now former owners, not any particular person.)
If the NPS really must name that building after someone, how about naming it after a person who is dead, who died in the performance of his duties in Yellowstone, and who had a close association with Old Faithful Geyser, the Old Faithful Area and geothermal features in general. What's wrong with the the name Roderick A. Hutchison Memorial Old Faithful Visitor Center, anyhow?
(Note: if anyone wants to organize such a naming effort, please let me know and I'll post contact info here.)