Fort Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park Post Office

When we first arrived at Mammoth Hot Springs I immediatly noticed that many of the buildings looked remarkably similar to ones from Fort Stanton, New Mexico where my parents worked in my childhood. It turned out that the town of Mammoth Hot Springs was indeed a former US Army fort from 1886 to 1918.

Yellowstone was the first National Park and after its founding there was still some question as to what exactly is a national park and how are they to be used?  Early entrepreneurs set up rogue tourist camps, suvenier hunters broke off pieces of the natural wonders and threw litter and rocks into the colorful hot springs which choked off the flow and killed the colorful bacterial mats and the wildlife were under serious threat from poachers.  Early visitors saw the park as a resource to take and exploit as they pleased and the civilian park staff charged with preserving and protecting the park were unequipped and unexperienced to deal with the threat.

US Army Corps of Engineers Offices


In response the US Army set up a temporary camp and it was quickly realized that a permanent presence would be needed. At its height 324 soldiers were stationed at Fort Yellowstone and the park outposts along with civilian staff and families.  In the winter the cavalry patrolled on skies and snow shoes.

Soldiers liked the remote rugged life in the mountains many applied to get in.  The life was hard and demanding and sometimes quite dangerous but the more relaxed discipline at Yellowstone, newer facilities and amazing scenery was unbeatable.

This was the Post Exchange which housed a gymnasium, canteen, barbershop and reading room.  The Cavalry Stables can be seen in the background.

Double Officers Quarters

Bachelor Officers Quarters, this building also had a mess and kitchen and housed temporary visitors.  Now this is the Visitor’s Center and Museum.

Fort Yellowstone Chapel.

Below are all later buildings added to the new town of Mammoth Hot Springs after the decommission of Fort Yellowstone

I dont remember exactly what this one was. It was some sort of court house for the National Park system.  They were currently holding a trial against a man who shot and killed a bear and claimed self defense.

The fancy Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel with one of the cool tour buses parked outside under the pavilion and what the interior looked like.

All of the other buildings had the same architectural style and classic 20’s coloring.

This was a cafeteria on one side and a fancier aka expensive sit down restaurant on the other.

A good aerial view of the town from the top of the hot springs as I was trying to get a better picture of that hawk. The old military fort is on the right with the older denser trees and red roofs the newer town of Mammoth Hot Springs is on the left

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