Tales from Yellowstone Park

See the park as it was a hundred years ago

Use the scroll at the top of the map to follow the journeys of Henry Keyes and Charles Hoff. The front block changes the latest date shown on the map and the second changes the earliest. Click on the markers to explore these accounts. Below the map are some links to more information on these accounts.

Since its establishment in 1872, Yellowstone park has had over 150 million visitors. Each one of these visitors had their own unique experience, some leaving with treasured memories and maybe some pictures. While it may just be a quick car ride away nowadays, travelling the park before automobiles became a common part of American life was a very different experience. The Special Collections at MSU has a handful of journals and photos from these early tourists, documenting their travels. Some of the more thorough accounts have been selected to be featured in this map, documenting their travels in the park. Some of the accounts featured here include the journal of Henry F. Keyes, a young Harvard student who traveled through in 1899, hiking much of the park, until an injury cut his visit short, or Charles Hoff, who rode through in a wagon with his brother and family in September of 1908. All of these accounts remark on the natural beauty of the park and its unique thermal features.

  • Yellowstone collections- A list of papers, journals and diaries that Special Collections has involving Yellowstone Park including the accounts used for this map.
  • Keyes Journal -A young Harvard student documents his travels from the east coast to Yellowstone. While there he records the sights from the western entrance through the geyser basin. His journey was cut short due to an injury near Old Faithful, but he still saw a good portion of the park on his trip out, travelling first to Yellowstone lake, then up to the Canyon Hotel, eventually leaving through the north entrance near Mammoth Springs.
  • Hoff journal -Charles Hoff set off on a wagon trip in 1908 with friends and family to see Yellowstone Park. They left from near Boulder Wyoming, making it to the park on September 4, 1908. They came in through the southern entrance and made their way north, circling around to see Tower Falls, Mammoth Springs, and the Geyser Basins, eventually leaving through the western entrance before going home.
  • Yellowstone Timeline -For a bit of perspective on the scale of the history of the park, here is a timeline beginning with some early native Americans, extending to modern day.