Geyser Bob's Yellowstone Transportation History
Transportation History Background
"Typical Surrey and Coach of the 'Wylie Way"
From 1914 Wylie Permanent Camping Co. Brochure
General Background
The earliest commercial transportation venture in the Park was Jack Baronett`s toll bridge, built in 1871 near Tower junction over the Yellowstone River.  He built a cabin on the bench above the junction of the Lamar and Yellowstone Rivers, and charged a $1.00 a head for man or beast to cross. In 1873, John Werks, George Huston, and Frank Grounds operated a primitive pack and saddle business at Mammoth. Stagecoach service began in 1874 with 'Zack Roots Express` weekly service on Mondays from Bozeman to Mammoth, carrying both freight and passengers.
The construction of a primitive road by Supt. Norris and his crew from Mammoth to Lower Geyser Basin in 1878 allowed Marshall & Goff to start a stagecoach business in 1880 to access the Geyser Basins and Marshall`s Hotel.  During the next 36 years numerous companies operated stagecoach lines, including Wakefield & Hoffman, Yellowstone Transportation Co., Yellowstone National Park Transportation Co., Yellowstone Park Transportation Co., Monida & Yellowstone Stage Co. (F.J. Haynes), Yellowstone & Western Stage Co., Cody-Sylvan Pass Co., Wylie Camping Co., and the Shaw & Powell Camping Co.
Baronett's Bridge over the Yellowstone River.  It was located downstream from the current Tower Bridge and above the Lamar River junction.
E.F. Everitt Stereoview
After the 1916 season, all transportation companies were merged into a monopoly called the Yellowstone Park Transportation Co. under Harry W. Child.  In August of 1915, automobiles were first allowed into the Park.  That year and the following one was a time of transition with both modes of travel operating under strict guidelines.  The introduction of automobiles brought major changes to the entire way of doing business in the Park.  With shortened travel times now available, hotels were no longer needed at Fountain, Norris and West Thumb.  Many tent camps were also closed to eliminate duplication of services.  The quicker travel times and increased freight tonnage available with motorized trucks eliminated the need for the various dairy and slaughterhouse operations inside the Park.  Also, with the elimination of the "weed-burners`, the park`s pastures would no longer be needed for the intense grazing that had been necessary.
The White Motor Co. letterhead depicted on a 1925 letter.
From the author's collection.
In 1917 the stagecoaches and stock were sold out, and Child, with loans of over $400,000 from the railroads, purchased 117 White Motor buses and various service trucks.  These were headquartered at the barns built in 1903-04 at Mammoth.  Plans were finalized for new facilities in Gardiner in 1924, but in March of 1925, the buildings at Mammoth burned, along with at least 93 vehicles.  It took a giant effort by the White Motor Company to get new auto stages to the park for spring opening.  In 1936 the YPTC was merged with other park concessionaires into the Yellowstone Park Company under Wm. Nichols, Child`s son-in-law.
"Gardiner - Entrance to Yellowstone Park"
Cover photo from a 1914 Northern Pacific Railway brochure.
From the author's collection.
As automobiles took over, the need for improvement of the roadbeds became a priority.  Gradually, the roads were widened, oiled, graveled, and ultimately paved.  The need for auto campgrounds and gas filling stations also became apparent, and eventually facilities were established at all major locations.  Yellowstone Park Service Stations currently runs the gas stations, and Xanterra Parks & Resorts operates the buses, over-snow vehicles, boats and horse operations.
NEXT - The Early Stagecoach Companies
             Transportation History Pages

Page 1:   
Page 2:   
Early Stagecoach Companies
Page 2a:  
Bassett Brothers
Page 3:   
The Larger Stage Companies Take Over
Page 4:   
The Horseless Carriage Rules the Road
Copyright 2006 Robert V. Goss
All rights reserved.  No part of this work may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by an information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.