McCartney’s Hotel – Yellowstone National Park
Photo Courtesy of YNP Archives
I have become very interested in finding out information on hotels that once existed inside Yellowstone National Park but now, for one reason or another, are no longer there.
The best place I have found to do research on Yellowstone is Geyser Bob’s website. It is a wealth of information and he has graciously allowed me to use his mountains of research.
One hotel that I learned about was the McCartney Hotel. Before Yellowstone was established as a national park James McCartney and Harry Horr staked a claim to a homestead of 160 acres at the mouth of Clematis Gulch. This was in 1871. They built two cabins on the claim. The one story log building would serve as a hotel (of sorts). Guests at the hotel were required to bring their own blankets and sleep on the floor. In 1874 on a visit to Yellowstone Lord Dunraven made the observation that this was “the last outpost of civilization – that is, the last place whiskey is sold.”
The following year outbuildings and a third cabin were constructed. During the following years additional cabins and outbuildings were built, being the only lodging in Yellowstone until 1880 when George Marshall built his hotel in the lower geyser basin.
As far as McCartney and Horr are concerned, Mr. Horr released his part of the claim to Mr. McCartney. Mr. Horr went on to establish the coal-mining town of Horr.
Early in the 1880’s the government kicked McCartney out of his holdings in order to use them for other purposes using one of the cabins as the post office and general store.
In an advertisement from the Bozeman Avant-Courier dated May 6, 1880, McCartney advertised “Board by day or week at reasonable prices,” stating that “the bath houses are under my personal supervision” and also stating in his ad that “pack horses and guides can be secured at the springs at reasonable prices.”
A crude bathhouse was constructed on the Hymen Terrace and five plank shacks were eventually built and they housed wooden bathtubs.
In 1902 McCartney’s Hotel was taken over by Sam Toy who operated a laundry, In December of 1912 the building burned down.
And so ends the story of McCartney’s Hotel – Yellowstone National Park.
AUTHOR: SUSIE KNAPP