History

Learn about the history of Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

Recent Posts

An optimistic prospector questions 1863 mining ‘laws’ in Yellowstone country

Walter Delacy (NPS image)

After gold was discovered near Bannack, Montana, in 1862, prospectors scoured every gully and creek searching for the next bonanza. In 1863, Walter Washington DeLacy led a 40-man expedition that explored the Snake River to its source. The party didn’t find enough “color” for a paying proposition, but they did bring back a wealth of information about the Yellowstone Plateau. DeLacy included that information in his famous 1865 map of the Montana territory. Continue Reading →

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Author wins national award for book about women in Yellowstone

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Elizabeth Watry, author of "Women in Wonderland: Lives, Legacies and Legends of Yellowstone National Park," has been honored with an award for profiles of women who were influential in the park's early days. The WILLA award, named in honor of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather, is sponsored by Women Writing the West. The award represents the best of published literature for women's or girls' stories set in the North American West. Continue Reading →

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Rediscovered manuscript describes 1869 Yellowstone expedition

David Folsom YDSF

Historians generally credit the Folsom-Cook-Peterson expedition as the first serious effort to explore and document the wonders of the upper Yellowstone. Trappers and prospectors had been telling stories for decades about fountains of boiling water, canyons a thousand feet deep, and mountains of glass. At first people discounted such reports as tall tales, but by the late 1860s, it became obvious that there really were wonders in the area. Continue Reading →

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A ‘Dark and Stormy Night’ in Yellowstone Park from 1874

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Early Yellowstone National Park visitor the Earl of Dunraven shares a scary tale of a dark and stormy night in 1874, in which "the Demon of the Tempest was abroad in his anger, yelling down the valley, dashing out the water-floods with his hands, laying waste the forest, and filling with dread the hearts of man and beast and every living thing." Continue Reading →

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C-SPAN explores ‘Adventures in Yellowstone’ with Montana author

A screen capture shows Montana author M. Mark Miller speaking during a September interview in Bozeman that aired this month on the C-SPAN cable network.

Montana author M. Mark Miller was featured on C-SPAN over the weekend discussing his book, Adventures in Yellowstone, on the cable channel's Book TV. Miller, who regularly contributes historic tales of early travel in Yellowstone National Park to Yellowstone Gate, reports that he saw a bump in book sales after the show aired. Continue Reading →

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Program to highlight work of first official Grand Teton photographer

Harrison R. Crandall was the first official Grand Teton National Park photographer and served as a resident artist from the 1920s until the 1960s. Professor and author Kenneth A. Barrick will provide insight into Crandall’s art and tenure as park photographer during a public event on Thursday, Sept. 5 at 5 p.m. in the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center auditorium. Continue Reading →

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Montana author shares historic tales of adventurous travels in Yellowstone

Historian and author M. Mark Miller recalls stories from his grandmother about Handkerchief Pool, a now-defunct thermal feature in Yellowstone National Park.

Visitors to Yellowstone National Park typically go home with a story or two to share about wildlife, wilderness or wide-open spaces. But with modern vehicles, hotels and even smartphones and laptops, their experiences are usually a far cry from the frontier adventures of the park’s earliest visitors. Those first tourists entered a park that lacked not only hotels and restaurants, but boardwalks and even roads. For Montana writer and historian M. Mark Miller, who will sign books this weekend and next at Old Faithful Inn, sharing those tales of early travel in Yellowstone is a passionate pursuit that has deep personal roots. M. Mark Miller
Miller recalls hearing stories from his grandmother about her 1909 trip to the park, as well as her recollections of Miller’s great-grandfather’s work surveying the park’s northern boundary in 1882. Continue Reading →

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An October blizzard complicates an 1880 visit to Yellowstone’s Upper Falls

Carrie Strahorn was an adventurous woman who insisted on traveling with her husband Robert (she called him "Pard") as he traveled the country searching for destinations for the Union Pacific Railroad. Carrie wrote newspaper columns about her adventures and eventually collected them in a book, Fifteen Thousand Miles by Stage. Continue Reading →

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‘Wapiti Are the Stupidest Brutes’—An 1874 elk hunt with the Earl of Dunraven

Most early Yellowstone National Park tourists came from the adjacent territories, because getting to the park was too expensive for those living far away. But a few wealthy adventurers from distant places found the time and money to make the long trip. Hunting, which was perfectly legal until the Army took over administration of Yellowstone Park in 1886, was a prime attraction. Continue Reading →

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