Canyon Automobile Camp
Yellowstone National Park


Water is obtained from Cascade Creek, at a concrete dam about three-quarters of a mile northwest of the camp, and one-quarter of a mile east of the Canyon-Norris Junction Road. This creek passes through stretches of wooded and open land off the beaten tourist path. Only a small number of people on horseback cross this land during the park season, and then under the supervision of experienced guides. The creek water comes from mountain springs; it is clear and soft and is not treated.

The water is forced by three hydraulic rams, having a daily capacity of about 70,000 gallons, through two 3-inch galvanized iron pipes to a two-compartment concrete reservoir of 27,000 gallons capacity. The reservoir is on land about 160 feet higher than the intake, and has a wooden board cover. A 4-inch galvanized iron pipe extends from the reservoir to the camp.

Water is furnished to the comfort stations and hydrants in camp and to the ranger station and stores near by. About 10,000 gallons of water a day are used to sprinkle the roads in order to keep down the dust.

There are 38 water hydrants in the camp, spaced about 200 feet apart and equipped with bronze self-closing cocks. The water lines are of 3/4-inch galvanized-iron pipe, extending 36 inches above the ground, and are fastened to posts or trees by galvanized-iron pipe straps, one to each hydrant. Two 2-inch No. 10 flat headed, brass, wood-screws are used on the straps. A hole has been dug in the ground beneath each spigot and filled with gravel to permit the filtration of waste water into the ground.


The camp has four comfort stations provided with flush toilets and washbasins. The wastes are led by an 8-inch tile sewer to a covered concrete septic tank below the ranger station, where the effluent is chlorinated in a special section of the tank designed for a contact period of 30 minutes. The sludge will be removed at the end of each season onto a drying bed located adjacent to the tank. The chlorinated effluent is discharged into a creek leading to Yellowstone River. The disposal plant was completed at the end of the 1924 season, and is so located as not to cause a nuisance. It is practically hidden among the trees, all natural facilities being utilized to screen it from the passers-by on the road. The plant will be operated by the sanitary engineer of the United States Public Health Service detailed to Yellowstone National Park, under the supervision of Sanitary Engineer Hommon.

The 4 comfort stations have 16 flush closets and 4 washbasins for women, and 15 flush closets, 4 urinals, and 4 washbasins for men. At the present time one of the men's flush closet compartments is used for storage of the caretaker's materials, but generally the space between the men's and women's sections is used as a storage place. The comfort stations are cleaned daily by a caretaker, paper being removed, the floors washed down, and a deodorant placed in the flush bowls and the urinals. Toilet paper is provided in these buildings, but no soap.

The comfort stations are so located as to be readily available to the automobile tourists. They are of a pleasing rustic design, harmonizing well with their surroundings. They were designed by the landscape engineer of the National Park Service. A layout of one of these stations is shown in Figure 1. Following is a complete list of materials and plumbing equipment.

FIG. 1.—Layout of comfort station. (click on image for a PDF version)

List of material for one comfort station


NumberSize LengthLinear feet Use

Inches Ft. In.

1867 0 126Sides.
1862 11 54Cross braces.
345-611 6 391Rafters.
5628 6 143Purlins.
2612 10 26Headers.
1265 0 60Corbel braces.
264 0 8Ridgepole Support.
497 0 28Corner logs.
2723 9 48Half logs.
2713 8 28    Do.
8514 0 112Cross braces.


PiecesSize DescriptionF. B. M.

232"x4"x12'C. R.184
961"x12"x16'S. 1S1,536
501"x4"x12'S. 1S.2E200
132"x4"x12'S. 4S104
31"x6"x12'S. 1S18



36 sacks of cement, 1-5 bank run gravel, with 1 sack of cement for floating


2rim locks.
3hasps and staples.
8pairs spring hinges, adjustable tension.
3pairs 6-inch strap hinges.
2pairs fake hinges, 1/4 by 2 by 27 inches.
2boxes No. 7 screws.
25pounds nails, 6d.
10pounds finishing nails, 6d.
10pounds nails, 10d.
10pounds spikes, 60d.
25pounds spikes, 100d.
303/8 by 13-inch round iron drift pins.
25pounds 5d. galvanized nails for shakes.


8 doors, 4-panel—24 by 60 inches—1-inch material


57 bundles (30 shakes to each bundle)


40feet 4-inch d. h. extra heavy soil pipe.
20feet 2-inch d. h. extra heavy soil pipe.
20feet 4-inch s. h. extra heavy soil pipe.
10feet 2-inch s. h. extra heavy soil pipe.
24-inch c. i. floor drains, with spigot ends, to calk into extra heavy soil pipe.
44-inch extra heavy double Y branches.
44-inch extra heavy single Y branches.
14-inch by 2-inch extra heavy Y branch.
34-inch extra heavy one-eighth bends.
64-inch extra heavy one-sixteenth bends.
34-inch extra heavy one-fourth bends with 2-inch high heel inlet, extra heavy.
14-inch clean out.
14 by 4 inch extra heavy offset.
14-inch roof-flashing lead.
12-inch roof-flashing lead.
102-inch extra heavy one-eighth bends.
14-inch extra heavy 4 by 1-1/2 inch tapped cross.
84-inch calking ferrules.
9feet 4-inch 6-pound lead soil pipe.
20pounds wiping solder.
170pounds calking lead.
25pounds oakum (rope).
8brass closet flanges.
8asbestos graphited rings.
16closet-floor bolts.
16closet screws.
16N. P. oval washers.
16N. P. round washers.
2pounds tinner's solder.
30feet 1-1/2-inch galvanized iron pipe.
21-1/2-inch galvanized iron elbows.
21-1/2 by 1-1/2 by 1-1/4 inch G. I. tees.
11-1/2-inch G. I. tee.
12 by 1-1/2 inch G. I. reducing coupling.
31-1/2-inch ring hangers.
241 by 12 wood screws.
103/8-inch compression stops.
23/8-inch basin cocks.
2N. P. cock-hole covers.
21-1/4-inch basin plugs. -
11-1/4-inch slip nut.
11-1/2-inch slip nut.
21/2-inch hose bibbs.
22 by 2 by 1/2 inch G. I. tees.
141/2-inch G. I. elbows.
41/2-inch G. I. tees.
41/2-inch G. I. plugs.
201/2-inch G. I. nipples.
61/2-inch G. I. 45° elbows.
31/2-inch gate valves.
11-1/2-inch gate valve.
241-foot 10-inch r. h. wood screws.
8reverse-trap siphon-action closet bowls.
8standard white enamel concealed low-down closet tanks.
8closet seats, whale-bonite, open front.
8feet 3/8-inch G. I. pipe.
21/4 by 3/8 inch G. I. reducing couplings.
43/8-inch G. I. nipples.
81/2 by 3/8 inch G. I. elbows.
11-1/2-inch N. P. "O" trap, with c. o. screw.
21-1/4-inch N. P. "O" trap, with c. o. screw.
160-inch white enamel urinal, rolled rim, with brass wash-down pipe and beehive strainer.
2white enamel 20 by 16 inch washbasins.

Although the drawing shows but seven flush closets, and one locker for storage, the list of equipment is for eight flush closets. The comfort stations were installed at a cost of about $900 apiece. This price was made somewhat bigh by the high freight charges on materials to the park, and also by the drayage in the park to the camp. A comfort station of this type could be installed at considerably less cost near cities, where the materials are readily available and the freight rates and hauling charges are reasonable.


For the disposal of garbage and refuse from the campers, small, shallow pits were dug throughout the camp at sufficiently frequent intervals to be convenient to the tourists. These pits are cleaned out daily by the camp cleaner, who hauls the garbage and refuse in a horse-drawn cart to a plot of ground about 1 mile from the camp. At this place the wastes are dumped into a pit and covered with earth. Ashes from campfires are collected and disposed of in the same manner.


Owing to heavy snows and depressions in the ground about the camp, the mosquito infestation was heavy. The mosquitoes prevailing, however, were not of the malaria-carrier type. At the beginning of the 1924 season, oiling was resorted to, because of the short time available and the lack of funds and personnel. Crankcase oil was sprayed over the pools at weekly intervals on three occasions. The work was concentrated on an area within a quarter of a mile of the camp. Toward the end of the season, when funds were available, the depressions were drained. In the future, pools will be drained wherever possible at the beginning of each season, or oiled, until the land within a half mile of the camp is free from mosquitoes. As additional funds become available, farm drain tile will be used as a means of removing breeding places for mosquitoes.

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Last Updated: 09-Nov-2009