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Our History

Why is it called Lake Five? Lake Five got its name because it was thought by someone, sometime to resemble a numeral 5. Our map page is physically accurate and a google maps page appears with a Google Maps Click. See if you can see a 5. The name came way before satellite imagery and before airplanes. It's shaped like a V, a Roman numeral five, but that's not what the story says and wouldn't it be Lake V? The question is asked on average five times a day and that's not the reason. It is not the fifth in a row. The real reason for the name is a mystery and maybe that's a fit for this nifty little spot. Lake Five.

The Lake Five Resort was originally introduced to Montana's summertime recreationists in the early 1920's, operated under the name Retiro Cabins. James H. Ridenour and his wife, Oni Maude filed on a homestead on the shore of Lake Five in 1915. After constructing a log home from the woods and clearing the necessary five acres for farm and garden space, these early pioneers continued to build a barn and outbuildings. Their ample garden produce soon caught the attention of visitors to Glacier National Park and the area around Belton, which would eventually become West Glacier. While visiting the Ridenour gardens, two families from Great Falls, Montana became infatuated with the serenity and beauty of the setting. They informed the Ridenours of their interest in contracting for summer lodging if accommodations were built. Jim fashioned a couple log cabins and in the summer of 1922, Retiro Cabins was formed.

That's how things began at this delightful vacation retreat more than 100 years ago. The enterprise evolved with the addition of modern plumbing, boating, water sports, camping, and the "Retiro Cabins" name was changed to "Lake Five Resort". The business has been handed down through succeeding generations. Children, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren of Jim and Maude Ridenour continue to please guests with quality service and the casual and peaceful setting of Lake Five. 

Some families have been coming back to this magic setting for generations. Others return after years of obligation in other parts of the world to find things relatively unchanged, as wonderful as their memories from childhood.

One long timer said they wouldn't be vacationing at Lake Five one summer because of plans to travel to California, but the kids had a say in the matter. They told their parents that if going to California meant they couldn't go to Lake Five, they "didn't want to go to Disneyland."

Take five at Lake Five!

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vintage postcard of Lake Five Retiro Cabins