Sunday, December 10, 2006

Frederich Alonzo Gustaf at Artist Point

Most Walt Disney World guests know Artist Point as the signature restaurant at the Wilderness Lodge resort. But in the fictional history of Silver Creek Springs, it refers to a specific location that predates the actual building of the lodge itself.

Young and ambitious, Frederich Alonzo Gustaf accompanied Genevieve Moreland on her journey west, in hopes of making a name for himself as a painter. Standing upon high rocks above the valley that Colonel Ezekiel Moreland discovered, Gustaf knew at that moment he had found his destiny. He immediately unpacked his gear and set up his easel somewhat precariously on a rocky outcropping that provided the best possible views of the surrounding area.

The Silver Creek Star newspaper related in an article what subsequently happened:

No sooner had the brush touched the canvas than the ground began to tremble. The artist quickly grabbed his seat and managed to keep his easel from falling. After the tremors had subsided, he looked to the Colonel and Jenny and smiled assuredly. "You see Colonel, I am something of a frontiersman myself." Only the Colonel knew what lay in store.

The tremor was only a warning. The explosion of the geyser was sudden and swift. The sound of so much water being propelled to such a height was earth shattering. As expected — and unexpected, the easel, the artist and all his supplies tumbled over the ledge. Gustaf survived the fall, and despite its obvious dangers, the ledge became his favorite place from which to paint.

The ledge soon became a favorite of other artists as well, such men as Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran. who soon flocked to the area in search of the perfect landscape. Years later, when the Lodge was finished, a formal dining room was built on the exact location and was aptly named Artist Point.