West Yellowstone in Gallatin County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
Even the Train Stopped Running
The Union Pacific Railroad provided passenger service to West Yellowstone from June into September. The deep snow made it difficult and at times impossible to maintain even freight service during the winter. Once snowed in, the tracks weren’t cleared until about the end of March.
The Spring Campaign, as the opening of the route was called, was greeted with great fanfare in the town. School was let out for the day, and a grand party was held to celebrate the reconnection to the outside world.
During the winter, postmasters retrieved mail every week to ten days from the Sherwood Store near Henry's Lake in Idaho. They made the two day round trip over Targhee Pass using skis or by dog sled.
In 1933, the first winter air service provided a new way for West Yellowstone's residents to send and receive mail. The plane had skis attached to the landing gear, making it possible to land in a snowy
The snowplow in front of you was built by the Four Wheel Drive Company of Clintonville, Wisconsin, the first manufacturers of four wheel drive equipment. Produced in the late 1930s, this plow was used by the Montana Highway Department to clear roads in the Gardiner area north of Yellowstone. It features a twin-headed engine produced by the Waukesha Motor Company in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Closed for the Winter
Because then as now tourism was the main industry of the town, businesses closed for the winter and many residents left West Yellowstone for the season. Those who stayed spent much of their time keeping paths from their homes shoveled — or trying to get around in their vehicles. Skiing and dog sledding provided means of enjoying the snow and getting out and about.
left: Signs such as this one in the lower Gallatin Canyon warned of winter travel restrictions. Photo courtesy of the Pioneer Museum, Bozeman, Montana
top: The train had to plow its way through snow as high as the tops of the cars to clear the tracks to West Yellowstone.
bottom: This Spring Campaign train was equipped with a rotary plow.
top: The town's mail system in 1916.
Erected by Yellowstone History Center.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Environment • Railroads & Streetcars • Roads & Vehicles.
Location. 44° 39.497′ N, 111° 6.068′ W. Marker is in West Yellowstone, Montana, in Gallatin County. Marker is on Yellowstone Avenue east of Dunraven Street, on the right when traveling east. Marker is located on the Yellowstone Historic Center grounds, on the west side of the building, in front of the old snow plow exhibit. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 104 Yellowstone Avenue, West Yellowstone MT 59758, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Oregon Shortline Terminus (within shouting distance of this marker); Oregon Short Line 1903 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Union Pacific Identification Pylon (approx. 0.2 miles away); Madison River (approx. 3.3 miles away in Wyoming); Land of Lodgepoles (approx. 3.3 miles away in Wyoming); Southern Gallatin County (approx. 8 miles away); Hebgen Lake and Quake Lake (approx. 10.4 miles away); Geologists' Dream (approx. 10.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in West Yellowstone.
More about this marker.
Also see . . . The Four Wheel Drive Auto Company. The Four Wheel Drive Auto Company, more often known as Four Wheel Drive (FWD), was a pioneering American company that developed and produced all-wheel drive vehicles. It was founded in 1909 in Clintonville, Wisconsin, as the Badger Four-Wheel Drive Auto Company by Otto Zachow and William Besserdich. Zachow and Besserdich developed and built the first successful four-wheel drive (4x4) car, the "Battleship", in 1908. Its success led to the founding of the company. Besserdich and Zachow's patented full time four wheel drive system combined a lockable center differential with double-Y constant velocity universal joints for steering. (Submitted on December 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 5, 2018. It was originally submitted on December 1, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 280 times since then and 60 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on December 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on December 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.