Pioneers of Yellowstone

Coated Specimens

Souvenirs Being Coated With Travertine at Mammoth Hot Springs.

There is no doubt that there are some colorful and very interesting individuals in the history of Yellowstone.  If you want some in depth information about them, check out Geyser Bob’s website. You will find a wealth of information about Yellowstone, the history of the park and the people who were instrumental in it becoming the place we enjoy today.

I thought you might enjoy a brief look at just a few of these individuals:

Yellowstone Travertine-Covered Souvenirs

Yellowstone Souvenirs Coated With Travertine

OLE A. ANDERSON:  By 1883 Ole A. Anderson had settled in Yellowstone and had begun his tent business located at Mammoth Hot Springs.  He discovered that if items of interest i.e. bottles, pine cones, horse shoes, combs, vases, crosses etc. were left in the waters flowing at Mammoth Terraces they would eventually become coated with white, alabaster-like deposits of travertine.  He saw a business opportunity here and began selling was were to become known as “coated specimens”.   He also sold bottled sand art.  This was art which was created by a Mr. Andrew Wald using the colorful sands he obtained from various locations in the park.  In 1896 Ole opened a new 2 story wooden frame store which was known as the “Speciman Shop”.  In 1908 Ole sold out to Pryor & Trischman and moved to Helena where he lived until his passing in 1915 at the age of 58 years.  He may not have lived a long life but he certainly lived an interesting one.

BEIDLER: His full name was John X. Beidler but he was universally known as “X”.  This might have been due to the fact that he was an early resident of Virginia City and a member of the Vigilantes in the early days of the territory.  It is rumored that he was often in charge of the “necktie” parties that were held when road agents and desperados were captured, tried and convicted.  He was a Deputy U. S. Marshall and served all over the Montana Territory.  His connection to Yellowstone is that he spent time there assisting with the enforcement of park regulations.  He died a pauper in Helena at the age of 59.

LADY BLACKMORE:  In 1872 Lord and Lady Blackmore were headed to Yellowstone to join the Hayden Expedition.  They came from Corinne, Utah by rail to Helena and from there they journeyed on to Bozeman.  Just two miles from their destination, Lady Blakemore became ill and was taken into Bozeman to recuperate.  With his wife settled in Bozeman to recuperate, Lord Blakemore decided to continue with his journey. However, shortly after heading out to continue his exploration of Yellowstone,  a courier was sent to notify Lord Blackmore that his wife’s health had taken a turn for the worse so on July 18 he returned to be by her side, arriving only minutes after her passing.  He purchased five acres of land and donated it to the then little town of Bozeman to be used as a cemetery,  Today that cemetery, known as Sunset Hill Cemetery, is the final resting place of Lady Blakemore.  Her gravesite has a magnificent view of the Gallatin Valley.   Lord Blakemore continued on his journey to explore the wonders of Yellowstone with the Hayden Party.

Old Faithful Inn Front Door

GEORGE W. COLPITTS:  In December of 1903 George received the blacksmith contract for work on the new Old Faithful Inn which was, at that time, under construction.  He and his helpers made all the wrought iron work for the Inn.  They created the massive and impressive front door hardware, the fireplace clock, screens, tongs, popcorn maker, an iron candelabra and all the numbers for the guest room doors as well as the locks for those doors.  Due to all this work, he found it necessary to open  a second shop in Livingston as well as using Frank Holem’s shop is Gardiner.  He passed away in 1937 at the age of 82 and is buried in the Mountain View Cemetery in Livingston.

MARIE L. DOUGLASS:  Not much is known about Marie.  She was traveling through Yellowstone with her parents, her sister Ruth and her maternal grandparents.  She was taken ill very suddenly during the trip and succumbed to her illness.  She is buried in the Gardiner Cemetery.  She was 9 years old.

AUGUST T. FRENCH:  In 1889 he received the Mammoth-Cooke City mail contract and took over J. A. Clark’s previous operation.  Apparently he still had the contract in 1897 since he  built the old log cabin which still exists at the lower end of the Mammoth Esplanade.  He was operating the Cinnabar to Jardine stage route by 1900.  He passed away in 1929 and is buried the Mountain View cemetery in Livingston.

Kite Hill Cemetary

Kite Hill Cemetery

MARY J. FOSTER:    The only information we have about Mary is that she was born in 1850 and died June 10, 1883 at the age of 33.  Her headstone claims that she was the first person to be buried in the Kite Hill cemetery behind the hotel at Mammoth.

SARRY E. BOLDING:  At this time all that is known about Sarry is that she was born  in 1861 and died February 25, 1886 at 25 years old.  She is buried at Mammoth with Mary Foster.

That is just a bit about some of the people who are definitely a part of the history of our first National Park.  No doubt there are some interesting individuals involved in the history of Yellowstone.  Perhaps in a later post I will tell you about some of the others.