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#905 Butte Montana, Yellowstone Trail, Calf & Cow

Posted by Dave on 31 January 2016 - 05:40 PM

On a trip east along the Yellowstone Trail last August (2015) I spent a few hours in Butte, Montana. A much longer visit is justified!


The photos and document can be enlarged by double clicking on a computer or zooming on a smart phone.


If you were following the Yellowstone Trail through Butte in 1924 you might have stayed at the New Finlen Hotel and had your car fixed at the Broadway Garage, both on Broadway, As the Hobbs Yellowstone Trail Grade and Surface Guide from 1926 clearly graphs, the Trail into Butte from the east was quite a ride. The hotel and garage would have been welcome!




The Broadway Garage opened in 1917 as announced in the July 15, 1917 issue of Horseless Age. The building, both interior and exterior are much the same today as they were in the days of the Yellowstone Trail. Even the office doorknobs are the old style cut glass!







In 1926 it was touted as “the best for work on all cars,” and you could store your vehicle for 50 cents a day. The Finlen was getting $4-5 for a double with bath. It is “without doubt the finest, thoroughly modern and fireproof.” You can see the Finlen in the photos beyond the Garage.


I often like to compare early rates with modern, adjusting for inflation. $5 is equivalent to $67 today. Finlen rates are now $88 a night for 2, with several amenities unknown in 1926, like flat screen TV, hair dryers, etc! I'd say that's a bargain for a fine historic hotel.


My grandfather Paul had been a miner in Butte before he homesteaded in Washington, so I drove up “the richest hill on earth” to take a look at the places he might have known at the turn of the last century. The streets follow the contours of the hill and the homes and former boarding houses cling to steep slopes everywhere. No urban planning here!


The giant mine head frames dominate the skyline even today. The photos show head frames, powerhouses and some rolling stock of the Butte Anaconda and Pacific railroad, the first freight line in America to electrify. The “cow and the calf,” as the cab and booster were known, pulled loaded cars of ore to the smelter at Anaconda.






The photos and document can be enlarged by double clicking on a computer or zooming on a smart phone.



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#864 Another YT Rival in Montana... The Great White Way

Posted by DustinMT on 06 January 2016 - 03:29 AM

Hey Guys!


I was up in the mountians mining Platium and Palladium for all of your catalytic converters so I havent had a chance to see your replies until now..... WOW! That is amazing that you have a photo of the same sign Lance! Dave and Mark, you guys and your coordinates! I love it. I should get on board with all the technology, but as of now I have found more intersting sites just "winging it", but someday I'll buy a GPS and start following your tire tracks. I appreciate the references and as soon as the weather clears, I'll head up there and drive Priest Pass. We know of three of these GWW tin signs in existance, one in a museum, one in a private collection, and then mine. I got this sign from a friend last week, who purchased it from a picker up here, who in turn claimed it was found on a barn along the route! There were so many auto trails in Montana that I doubt that I will ever track down signage from them all, but so far I have collected:

Yellowstone Trail

Glacier Trail

Great White Way 

US 10

US 2

US 91

US 10S

US 10N


Thanks again for the posts fellas, I sure appreciate the input!



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#834 Mystery of the missing switchback solved!

Posted by road warrior on 13 December 2015 - 12:30 PM

Mystery of the missing switchback solved!


The old photo below shows the hairpin curve on the west side of Snoqualmie Pass. I believe it was taken about 1915 when the Sunset Highway/Yellowstone Trail was opened for traffic.


In the summer of 2013 my wife Leona and I met up with Dave (King of the Road) and his wife Sheila for a trip up the pass to look for the water trough. While we were there I noticed that the upper switchback near where the trough is didn't quite match the alignment that was in the photo below. I was telling Dave that maybe it was just realigned some time in the past. This has always bothered me and I had to know what happened.


While I was sitting by the computer last week. I was doing some research and looking at some old county maps. I noticed on one of them showing 3 switchbacks on the west side of the pass. I thought this missing switchback had to be the one that the old photo was showing.


I have some 1915 county survey maps of the pass and they only showed 2 switchbacks. I then realized that one section was missing. So going back to the county website I was able to find a map of the pass from 1926. The highway was realigned in 1926 using the old Milwaukee Road right of way that was abandoned after the tunnel was built. This new alignment bypassed all the switchbacks.


As you can see from that survey map below that the old road connects to the new alignment at this 3rd switchback. Looking at a 1958 aerial I was able to confirm that indeed this switchback existed. In the 1930's when the old road was completely bypassed they realigned this section of the old road so it would still be passable. This realignment straightened out this switchback.


Following up with a look at the Google Satellite map of the pass I was able to spot the remains of the outer curve. Leona and I drove up there today but there was too much snow to reach the spot. looks like I will have to wait for spring.


Now I know just where that old photo was taken. Mystery solved!



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#81 Miles City Pennent

Posted by Alice on 14 December 2013 - 01:19 PM


The picture of Joe Parmley in his decked out car with pennant(s) was taken in Minneapolis, I think. We have used that picture in our writings, but I don't know what kind of car that is. A Studebaker? Do you know? Does any reader know?


Alice Ridge

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#725 Long Beach, NOT on the Yellowstone Trail!

Posted by Dave on 06 June 2015 - 04:23 PM

Mark, our Executive Director, has said here that it is OK to discuss from time to time a heritage highway other than the Yellowstone Trail. And he should be especially agreeable to this post, since he is in it!! Here is our esteemed Executive Director looking out of a battery door at the Ft Canby gun emplacement.




Mark was driving out from his home state of Wisconsin to the west coast, a trip I hope he will share. I promised I would meet him for a day when he reached the coast. We agreed to meet in Long Breach, Washington, a more or less old time seaside tourist village. My route took me along Washington State highway 6 and down US101. More about that later.


Long Beach has all the wonderful characteristics of a 1930's or 40's family coastal vacation destination, updated to the comfort and quality of the modern day. In the old days steam trains ran down the main street and dropped visitors from Portland and Seattle downtown or at their beach houses. Those days are gone, but the giant display where you could stand next to the “world's largest frying pan” is still there.




And Marsh's Museum is as much like a 1950's souvenir and oddities shop as you can find in America, complete with the “world famous” Alligator Man under glass. These are the kinds of travel discoveries and fantastic displays I recall as a youngster in the 40's. The heck to water parks ….. I saw an alligator man!! Top that with your waterslide!! :) But only Dad got to spend a nickle to see the likes of “Back to Nature,” and Mom only gave him one peek. (In case you are too young to recognize a come on, “Back to Nature” is not risque!)











Old style beach cottages are common accommodations and terrific little restaurants and shops abound. That said, Mark and I had a lousy, over priced dinner of a wild salmon steak and a spoonful of mushy rice, both about as flavorsome as a damp microwaved cotton sock. And it tough for me to dislike salmon! Mark was pleased (or so he said), I suppose because he doesn't eat wild salmon as often as I do. Now that I have my only gripe off my chest, Long Beach and the area were terrific places to visit.


For the history buff, and the lighthouse follower you have Lewis and Clark's Cape Disappointment, and both the North Head and Cape Disappointment light houses, still in operation at the mouth of the Columbia River. The Cape Disappointment light is below.






North Head Lighthouse is the more picturesque. The afternoon Mark and I visited was sunny and I took several photos that were pretty much your standard lighthouse fare. But the next morning when I left Long Beach it was foggy, so I went back, and this time I followed the narrow unmarked path the lighthouse keeper used to follow to reach the light. The fog was a little heavy, but I caught several “non traditional” images, such as the one below. It was cold, windy, and I could almost see the old man cursing the chill as he trudged to the light. Tell me, is a water slide better than this? (OK, if you are 8 it might be!! :) )




If military history is your forte there are four forts within shouting distance, including a couple that date back to the Civil War. The Union didn't want Rebels coming up river. There are huge gun emplacements and bunkers beside the Cape Disappointment Visitors Center. I am no military historian, but there is one pintel (the pin on which a gun carriage revolves). from the Civil War era, and huge bunkers (no guns) from about 1905. The photo below shows the Civil War era pintel in the foreground and one of the battery bunkers from around 1905 in the background.




I wish I could say that the Long Beach Peninsula of Washington is on the Yellowstone Trail, but I can't. Nonetheless, any road trip on our heritage highways is a treat. I intend to fill in my road trip details in due course.

  • lance likes this

#51 A Few Introductions!

Posted by Dave on 06 December 2013 - 12:39 PM



You are another lucky person, living next door to the Trail! And both owning and having access to vintage cars has got to be great. I have a couple of “near vintage” cars myself, but that wasn't by design....they have just gotten old while I have owned them :)! Maybe they are better called “heavily used” rather than vintage :). But I do envy you!


When you get a little time free, I'd love to see some photos of the tent and Model T set up! I have seen ads for the tent and double bed in my old magazines.


As you certainly know, many people today would not realize that in the days of the Trail, auto camping with tent was the standard accommodation for most travelers. Every town and village built an auto camp, to attract their share of the tourists' bucks.


Publications, like the Mohawk Hobbs Guide for the Yellowstone Trail (somewhere in my aggregation of stuff) , listed and described auto camps along the route in the mid 1920's. Is there any chance that some of those still exist in your area and could be a stop on your summer excursion? I know we have some in our state (Washington) that still offer camping. It would make a great write up here.



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#496 Yellowstone Trail Auto Camps

Posted by Dave on 10 February 2015 - 03:10 PM



Not to worry about that criticism thing, I'm married! :)  



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#491 1926 Yellowstone Trail Auto Travel Gear

Posted by YellowstoneMo on 09 February 2015 - 07:41 PM

Primitive travel...how did they do it without duct tape or WD-40?


But, if your monkeys got loose, you at least had monkey wrenches. {:>)

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#36 A Few Introductions!

Posted by Edward on 26 November 2013 - 06:50 AM



Just an interested party. Love history and especially historical artifacts and buildings. Live in St Charles, IL. in a house built in 1890. Graduated from Univ of Wisc Stout in Menomonie - lived there for 5 years. Have visited many of the towns in Wisconsin that are on the trail. Have also visited many of the towns between Minneapolis and Seattle on driving trips. A few weeks ago, visited LaCrosse, Hudson, Hurley and Stevens Point looking for fall colors. Love driving on back roads thanks to GPS. Hobbies include gardening, woodworking and modeling the Santa Fe Railroad, n scale, Summer, 1957. Just completed a replica of the Stockyards in Ft Madison, IA. Next project, modeling the bridge across the Mississippi  to connect the two parts of my layout.


Edward Gabrielse

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#335 Yellowstone Trail "Ghost" Sign in Big Timber Montana

Posted by lance on 20 July 2014 - 05:52 PM



Here is a picture from 1917. At that time it was just called Big Timber Garage. I saw another picture in 1960 that showed it as a Chevrolet, Pontiac and Buick dealer. Here is the early one. Sure wish we could read it.


$_57 (1).JPG

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#330 Yellowstone Trail Adventure from Livingston to Gardiner Montana

Posted by Dave on 20 July 2014 - 04:55 PM



Very Impressive!!  I will comment more later, but terrific report, and I really enjoyed the pictures!  It is great that you are including your daughter!!



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#325 A Few Introductions!

Posted by DustinMT on 20 July 2014 - 02:45 PM



My name is Dustin Schillinger, and I live in Billings Montana. I am 32 and work as an underground miner. I became interested in the early trails and named highways while I lived in Kansas. I collect early advertising signs and while I was on the hunt I found a few porcelain Victory Highway / National Old Trails Road signs in a chicken coup. I have since expanded my collection to include original signage from the Santa Fe Trail, Lincoln Highway, Glacier Trail, and of course the Yellowstone Trail. I also actively collect the original issue fully embossed highway shields from the places I have lived. My daughter and I spend a lot of time driving and we love the history and sites that can been seen "off the interstate"! I'm proud to be a member of the YTA and enjoy reading everyone's posts!



Dustin Schillinger-

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#266 1913 ROADS - East versus West

Posted by lance on 10 April 2014 - 06:24 AM

We started out comparing the roads of the east to those of the wild west. Mo found a nice YT photo from out west, but the road was too good in my opinion. I have many good pictures of cars in the mud but most aren't on the YT. Finally I found a picture I liked. It isn't on the YT but it is in Dave's neighborhood and probably represents the roads out west better. This is listed as Bothell, Washington, just north of Seattle.


Bothell, Washington.jpg

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#240 Camel's Hump

Posted by YellowstoneMo on 18 March 2014 - 08:37 PM

OK Dave, I've been exposed as a poser...I am not a map buff or expert. I am just a road tripper who gets a kick out of finding things.


I have relied upon JWR's expertise and maps, and buy an old map here and there for fun. I have carried my reproduction Rand McNally 1926 Road Atlas with me the past three summers exploring the YT East and West. I keep it handy in the front seat area.


I did carry an ABB to Washington in '12 and an East Coast one last year, but they usually get buried under something in my Kia's back bedroom. I often forget I have it along and miss things.


I enjoy wandering around and "discovering" neat things and trying to figure things out, but I refuse to approach it as a scholar...that seems too much like having a job to me. {:>)

I am happy to defer the scholarly pursuits to you and JWR.

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#195 Vintage Yellowstone Trail Snoqualmie Pass, Then & Now

Posted by Dave on 05 March 2014 - 09:54 PM



Thanks for the comeback and photo!


I should have thought to indicate the direction. It is westbound. If you enter the coordinates from the image below you can go the the approximate spot.


I have been over that pass so many times, I confess it has lost its grandeur a bit. I had one very hairy crossing one mid winter night not many years ago. I was in my little Hyundai headed eastbound. It had started to snow heavily as we started up the west side. I had studded snow tires on all 4. We were approaching the pass in near blizzard conditions with snow piling up quickly.


The big trucks that had began up the grade before chains were required were jackknifing everywhere, and the last chance for any car to exit was just about where your sign was. Cars were stopped and parked in mid highway, and struggling for traction. Some idiots were even getting out to walk on the freeway!! I had traction, but I knew if I stopped I would immediately be either hemmed in by stalled and sliding cars, or squished by a jackknifing truck.


Sheila was telling me in no uncertain terms, and not too gently, to pull off at the last change near your sign, but I figured it was an overnight stay in the Hyundai if we didn't make it over the pass. There was a collection of cars and trucks all kattywampus blocking the highway and the exit, trying to make it to safety, but I spotted a run for the highway  I could make through the maze if I didn't stop, or lose traction. I clinched my teeth, hunched over, fixed a steely gaze on the road, and applied a tight grip on the steering wheel.


Bless studded snow tires! Above the sound of the bad things Sheila was shouting about my parentage and sanity, we dove through the blockade with inches to spare, and over the top. If we weren’t the last car through, I bet there were not two more that night. Once over the pass and down a bit, we practically sailed past the lake with the road to ourselves, and made it to Spokane by midnight.


I highly recommend studded snow tires, and don't recommend Snoqualmie in a blizzard!






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#193 Vintage Yellowstone Trail Snoqualmie Pass, Then & Now

Posted by Dave on 01 March 2014 - 08:39 PM



Thanks for the comeback and kind comment! It is really difficult driving at 70 over the pass today to imagine want a dirt road and open car would have been like on the Trail in say 1920. But you have an example, don't you....at least the car part!


As a digression, I bought yesterday at a local antique store the 1939, 1940, and 1941 daily diaries of a woman who was just turning 30 in 1941. My interest was mostly in the character of life just before the war (for the youngins that World War II). It turned out that she just passed away last year, at 102 (!!!) and I found her obituary, and was therefore able to piece together many events. She lived in the same house for 81 years!


What was fascinating was how different her daily life was compared with almost any woman I know today. It is fairly easy to see the changes in the Yellowstone Trail, but not so easy when we reflect on how fundamentally our lives have changed in just one lifetime.


Thanks again for the comeback!



  • lance likes this

#1107 Campers From Wenatchee, Washington

Posted by Dave on 16 September 2016 - 04:51 PM



Two interesting photos! I agree, you do have to wonder where the gear was packed. I suppose the most typical places were the running boards and in or on the rear deck.


The woman is in pants, which I suppose was not all that typical of the time.


The plates are a light numeral on a darker background, which is probably 1924. The coupe looks 1923, with the “suicide doors”…...I believe (not based on my “knowledge but on the internet sites below)







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#105 YT in Massachusetts

Posted by lance on 23 December 2013 - 07:24 AM

I found this image on the web and thought it fit the above discussion. Nice graphics.



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#104 1917 Original Yellowstone Trail Official Guide

Posted by Dave on 19 December 2013 - 07:47 PM

I acquired a badly worn 1917 Official Yellowstone Trail Guide a week or so ago and thought members and visitors might enjoy viewing it. Tom also asked about maps of the eastern section, and these will help (or confuse).


To view the pages full size, click on the thumbnails on the index page here


[If you are a member of the Yellowstone Trail Association needing a copy of the full scale jpg files, contact me using the Forum messenger (little envelope symbol at top of forum)].


Tom, this guide map doesn't route the Trail through western Massachusetts at all, but the 1919 guide does (I'll post that one later). So “Yes the route did change!”


And for those looking at the 1917 map in Washington, where I live, since when was North Bend east of Snoqualmie Pass, and did the Trail really go through Pomeroy!!!?? I have looked at maps from that era and find no such route....but I am often wrong, so maybe the experts can enlighten me. Did the map maker confuse the Penewawa Ferry and the Almota Ferry crossings?



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#1023 YT Busses

Posted by Dave on 21 June 2016 - 03:46 PM



I haven't seen it before either.  I wish the video were a little longer. Just the sound of  the engine was music!


Thanks for  the lead!



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