First Automobiles in the Park
Despite years of resistance from park managers, the first automobiles were officially allowed into
in 1915 (on July 31, a Ford Model T became the first to legally enter the park) and horse-drawn vehicles were prohibited by 1917. The Yellowstone Park Transportation Company (Y.P.T. Co.) was designated as the sole park transportation concessionaire, and was required to buy 116 touring cars and motor buses for use in the 1917 summer season. These vehicles, like the stagecoaches, were also painted yellow, and were manufactured by the White Motor Company of
. Drivers were known as "gearjammers", and like their predecessors, the stagecoach drivers, were among the best paid and most envied of concession employees.
1917 White Motor Company seven-passenger limousine/touring car. Y.P.T. Co. Number 753. Museum Catalog Number YELL 90073. This vehicle has a 4-cylinder engine, vacuum fuel pump system, and double magneto. The ignition and lighting systems were made by Warner and Leece-Neville. It features four doors, front bucket seats, a rear bench seat, and two rear jump seats, as well as a canvas convertible top and a storage compartment under the rear seat for side curtains. The dark paisley carpet on the floor appears to match carpet samples from the Old Faithful Inn. VIPs as well as more affluent visitors to
toured the park in vehicles of this type, which were later supplemented by
(YELL 90073-1) 1917 seven-passenger White Motor Company limousine or touring car in the park's museum collection.
(YELL 90073-2) Close up of the Yellowstone Park Transportation Company logo located on both sides of the vehicle. The bear in the center was based on a photograph taken by the legendary Frank J. Haynes, one of
's most famous photographers.
(YELL-2012) A newly acquired image in the park's photo archives shows a seven-passenger touring car which is probably the same automobile in the park's collection (the number "753" is visible below the company logo) parked in front of YPT Co. headquarters in Gardiner, Montana. The stagecoach on "exhibit" is almost identical to an example in the collection.