These five postcards date from the late 1910s to the 1960s. The first shows someone feeding a black bear, behavior that the Park Service actively discourages today. The person feeding the bear, though apparently a woman, is wearing pants and a tie, suggesting the group has also been horseback riding.
This postcard has the UP “system” logo and a white border, both of which date it to 1915 to 1930. However, based on the clothing styles, I would guess it is from the early part of that period. The back of the card says Yellowstone is “best reached by the Union Pacific via West Yellowstone Station, directly on the park boundary.” Northern Pacific, whose Gardiner station was directly on the park’s northern boundary, would naturally dispute that claim.
This card doesn’t claim to be issued by the Union Pacific, but it mentions the Union Pacific system, which dates it to the 1920s. If the Union Pacific itself didn’t sell it, the maker must have gotten the photo from the railroad.
Here is a perforated card showing a scene in Grand Teton National Park just south of Yellowstone. The style of card dates to 1915 to 1930, but Grand Teton wasn’t designated a national park until 1929. So the card is probably from about 1930.
This linen card is from the post-war era as indicated by the use of the UP Railroad logo on the back, which was used starting in 1942. We know from other cards that UP continued to use linen cards as late as 1955.
Jackson Lake and Jackson Hole are named after fur trapper David Jackson, about whom little is known other that he loved this area. Rather than mention fur trappers, the back of this postcard describes Jackson Hole as the “hide-out of frontier day outlaws.” This is a myth; while outlaws such as Butch Cassidy may have passed through Jackson Hole, the number of criminals living in the area was no greater than any other part of the old West.
This card says, “bus tours start from Ashton, Idaho, Union Pacific gateway to the park.” This dates the card to the 1960s, as UP ended service to West Yellowstone in 1960. Another thing that dates the card is the small number of people watching the geyser; today there would be hundreds.
This card has a similar statement about Ashton. We’ve seen this photo of the Chapel of the Transfiguration before on a 1965 menu, and the card was probably issued about the same time.