March 16, 2017

EXTRA! Montana Newspaper Stories 1864-1922: Yellowstone National Park

Although the unique geological formations of the Yellowstone area were known to Native Americans and early white explorers, it wasn’t until the 1871 Hayden expedition that the rest of the U.S. population believed the stories. Photographs from the expedition were published and just a year later, in 1872, Congress created Yellowstone National Park. It quickly became a popular tourist attraction and a model for national parks in other countries.


Key dates

1805-06—Members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition hear reports of a volcano south of the Missouri River.
1807-08—Former Expedition member John Colter travels alone through a large tract of present-day Wyoming as far south as Jackson Lake. After he reports astonishing sites such as geysers and rivers of boiling water, the area is jokingly referred to as “Colter’s Hell.”
1870—The Washburn–Langford–Doane Expedition returns with detailed maps and observations, and various members publish first-hand accounts in national periodicals.
1871—Congress appoints Ferdinand V. Hayden to make an official geological survey. Hayden is accompanied by artist Thomas Moran and photographer William Henry Jackson.
March 1, 1872—President Grant signs a bill creating the world’s first national park. It is comprised of 2.2 million acres of wilderness.
1894—The Lacey Act prohibits “the hunting, or the killing or wounding, or capturing. . . of any bird or wild animal, except dangerous animals” in the Park.


From the newspapers


To find more

Search for these terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases: yellowstone park, dr. ferdinand hayden, nathaniel pitt (n.p.) langford, henry d. washburn, john colter

Written by Catherine W. Ockey

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