The Gardiner Gateway to Yellowstone

The Northern Pacific was proud to call Gardiner the “original entrance to Yellowstone National Park” and, from 1903 until Union Pacific built to West Yellowstone in 1908, the only one reached by a railroad. These postcards show views in and around Gardiner. Click any image to download a PDF of that postcard, all of which are 350 KB to 500 KB.

NP’s train station at Gardiner was built on a loop that allowed the train to turn and head back to the main line at Livingston. This card was not issued by the railroad but does present an overview of the town.

This card probably dates from before 1915, the first year automobiles were allowed into Yellowstone. The NP logo on the back shows that it was issued by the railroad.

Here’s another view of the Yellowstone stagecoach. The fact that the card calls it the “old stagecoach” suggests it may have been issued after 1915 as the transition from stagecoaches to open touring cars wasn’t completed until 1917. No NP logo, but the front says it is based on a photo taken for the NP.

The automobile in this photo dates it to around 1930 plus or minus a couple of years. Again, no NP logo but an NP photo.

Dedicated by Theodore Roosevelt in 1903, the Roosevelt Arch really should be called the Northern Pacific Arch because it was built to commemorate the extension of the NP to Gardiner in that year; previously, the railroad terminated about three miles away at Cinnabar. You can still drive under the 50-foot-tall arch, but the main road bypasses it. This card is postmarked 1923 but strangely missing any address; the message area contains an ad for NP passenger service to Gardiner.

Pronghorns are numerous in Wyoming, though their numbers in Yellowstone were reduced in recent years when elk populations grew out of control. The introduction of wolves probably helped the pronghorn because the wolves are reducing the elk populations. This NP-issued card probably dates to around 1910.

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