|Jennie Henderson Ash and Lyall-Henderson - 1884 to 1913
Mammoth General Store
Excerpts from "Making Concessions in Yellowstone"
|The Henderson family moves to Yellowstone...
George L. Henderson of Iowa was appointed Assistant Park Superintendent and moved to Yellowstone in May of 1882. He was accompanied by five children - Walter, Helen, Barbara, Jennie, and Mary. Barbara soon became Postmistress and in 1883 opened the post office in one of James McCartney's old hotel buildings. Sister Jennie soon began assisting her, and began selling 'coated specimens' and mineral specimens provided by local entrepreneurs. The business became known simply as 'The Post Office Store.' Jennie became Postmistress in April of 1884, and married John Dewing. However, she lost (or gave up) her position in the fall of that year. She again became Postmistress in the fall of 1888, taking over the Post Office Store. By 1889 she was selling photographic views, stationary, tobacco, toiletry items, fruit, and some clothing items. She married George Ash in 1893 and began construction on a new store and residence in 1895.
Letterhead of the Lyall & Henderson store, 1912.
The two men took over the Mammoth general store from Jennie Ash in 1908. Lyall had already been Postmaster since early 1906.
Letterhead from the YNP Post Office, 1893.
Jennie H. Dewing (Later Mrs. Jennie H. Ash) was Postmaster, while sister Mary was her Assistant.
Courtesy of the Yellowstone Archives.
|Lyall & Henderson take over...
Alexander Lyall and Walter Henderson officially took over the lease in April of 1908, changing the name to 'Lyall & Henderson'. The men soon applied to Interior for permission to build an addition to the store, but the project became mired down in red tape. The Yellowstone Park Association, who owned the nearby National Hotel, were planning on building a grand new hotel at Mammoth. The proposed building would have extended onto the lot of the general store, requiring the store to be moved. YPA eventually shelved the hotel plans due to the excessive cost, and settled on remodeling the existing hotel. The addition to the store was never completed. By 1913 the men both maintained homes in Southern California and spent much of the year away from their families. They sold out the operation to George Whittaker, former Army soldier and scout in March of 1913. Whittaker operated the store for almost 20 years, selling to Pryor & Trischman in 1932.
|Hamilton's Store in 2002
The residence portion on the left is much the same as when it was built in 1896. The flat roof addition was put on by George Whittaker ca1914.
Photo by the author.
|The new store....
The new store opened up in 1896 and was referred to as 'Ash & Henderson' on their business letterhead, although generally still referred to as the Post Office Store. Additions were built on the property in 1897 and 1902. Although George had been Postmaster since 1893, the business correspondence for the store was generally all in Jennie's name. The store sold a wide variety of dry goods, clothing, tourist supplies, and curios, in addition to the items previously mentioned.. Later on Indian goods, furs and game heads were added to the stock. George died in 1900 from an undisclosed illness, leaving Jennie in charge. Various family members assisted in the operation of the store over the years, particularly after the death of her husband. Alexander Lyall, who was married to Jennie's sister Barbara, became Postmaster in 1906 and also a partner in the busness. Jennie began having problems with her health and spent more time in Southern California, where most of her family maintained residences. In 1908 she sold the business to Alexander and her brother Walter Henderson.
| Ash & Henderson Store
circa 1896. Newly built store of Jennie H. Ash & husband George Ash. It was located between the National and Cottage hotels.
Photo courtesy of the Yellowstone Collection
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Pryor & Trischman
Haynes Photo Shops
|Copyright 2004 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.
|"Yellowstone's First General Store"
Yellowstone Science Vol. 13, No. 2 - Spring 2005
Click here to see my magazine article on the Henderson General Store