Mammoth Area Historic Highlights
Due to its year-round access and comparatively mild winters, Mammoth has always been the headquarters for the park. The hot springs were an early commercialized attraction for those seeking relief from ailments in the mineral waters. Two historic events taking place at Mammoth were the Nez Perce flight in 1877 and President Teddy Roosevelt's visit in 1903.
There are several wickiups in the vicinity as well as the Bannock Indian trail, roasting pits, and the Obsidian Cliff quarry site. In 1959, a Clovis point that was dated to more than 10,000 years ago was found at the site of the old Gardiner post office.
We also have an online tour of Fort Yellowstone and a page that provides more detailed information concerning the Fort Yellowstone - Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District.
All of the red-roofed, many-chimneyed buildings in the Mammoth area are part of historic Fort Yellowstone. Beginning in 1886, after 14 years of poor civilian management of the park, the Cavalry was called upon to manage the park's resources and visitors. Because the Cavalry only expected to be here a short while, they built a temporary post near the base of the Terraces called Camp Sheridan. After five cold, harsh winters, they realized that their stay in the park was going to be longer than expected, so they built Fort Yellowstone, a permanent post.
In 1891, the first building to be constructed was the guard house because it directly coincided with the Cavalry's mission--protection and management. There were three stages of construction at Fort Yellowstone. The first set of clapboard buildings were built in 1891, the second set in 1897 as the Fort expanded to a two-troop fort, and, finally, the stone buildings were built in 1909 making the fort's capacity 400 men or four troops. By 1916, the National Park Service was established, and the Cavalry gave control of Yellowstone back to the civilians. After a short time away, the Cavalry returned in 1917 and finished their duty completely in 1918. Since that time, historic Fort Yellowstone has been Yellowstone's headquarters.
The first major entrance for Yellowstone was at the north boundary. Before 1903, trains would bring visitors to Cinnabar, Montana, which was a few miles northwest of Gardiner, Montana, and people would climb onto horse-drawn coaches there to enter the park. In 1903, the railway finally came to Gardiner, and people entered through an enormous stone archway. Robert Reamer, a famous architect in Yellowstone, designed the immense stone arch for coaches to travel through on their way into the park. At the time of the arch's construction, President Theodore Roosevelt was visiting the park. He consequently placed the cornerstone for the arch, which then took his name. The top of the Roosevelt Arch is inscribed with "For the benefit and enjoyment of the people," which is from the Organic Act of 1916.
Other Historic Sites
The list includes: the Engineer's office, designed in 1903 by Hiram Chittenden of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Scottish Rite Chapel, 1913; Capitol Hill, former site of Superintendent Norris' headquarters blockhouse; Kite Hill cemetery, 1880s, containing graves of early settlers and employees; Reamer House, designed in 1908 by well-known architect Robert Reamer, an example of Prairie-style architecture; Haynes Picture Shop, photographic studio used by the Haynes family; old roads, railroad beds, bridges; and historic structures in Gardiner.
Did You Know?
Prior to the establishment of the National Park Service, the U.S. Army protected Yellowstone between 1886 and 1918. Fort Yellowstone was established at Mammoth Hot Springs for that purpose.