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 clearing. The pilot also delivered milk, a rare wintertime treat.
The snowplow in front of you was built by the Four Wheel Drive Company of Clintonville, 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.
bottom: Skis replaced the wheels on Chris Christensen's plane.
Erected by Yellowstone History Center.
Location. Touch for map. Marker is located on the Yellowstone Historic Center grounds, on the west side of the building, in front of the old snow plow exhibit. Marker is at or near this postal address: 104 Yellowstone Avenue, West Yellowstone MT 59758, United States of America.
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. Marker is a large composite plaque, mounted horizontally on waist-high posts.
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 (Submitted on December 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Categories. • Environment • Railroads & Streetcars • Roads & Vehicles •
Credits. This page was last revised on December 5, 2018. This page originally submitted on December 1, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 49 times since then. 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.