Yellowstone National Park 1931-32

In a sort of continuation of my Dad’s west coast adventures, I have quite a few old postcards from Yellowstone. It appears that he was good at buying postcards and actually writing messages on them, addressing them, and then not sending them! All of the postcards in my possession contain no stamp or postal cancellation. So, I must assume that he just brought the cards back to Kentucky when he returned. I do hope he did manage to send other cards to all these people. After all, he was asking them to write! If you’re just joining us here, please feel free to visit the two previous posts leading up to this one. For the beginning of the story, click here to open Riding the Rails During the Great Depression, and click here  to open Dad’s Tour of the West Coast During the Great Depression. Each link will open in a new tab.

It seems he stayed out West a lot longer than I ever thought. He and his friends arrived in Oregon in April 1931 during the Depression. I now believe they went West seeking better employment opportunities. After some touring and spending time with friends in Santa Barbara, he got employment that summer at Yellowstone National Park. He indicated on some of the cards that he would be in Yellowstone until September/October and then would return to Santa Barbara (or the California coast) for the winter. He never talked much about it to me when I was growing up. Oh, the opportunities we miss to learn about our family and heritage. Anyway, about the only thing I ever remember him saying is that one should never want to cross the path of the grizzly bear.

The cards were made by Haynes Picture Shops, Inc., 341 Selby Ave., St. Paul, Minn. and Yellowstone Park, Wyoming.

Click on each Today for additional information. Please enjoy the cards!


Twin Cub Bears, Yellowstone Park. The black bear exists in the park in a number of color phases, the commonest type is black with a brown nose. Others are dark and medium brown, reddish brown and dull buffy brown. Even cub bears resent being teased and are usually treated with the respect that they deserve.

Today: The Grizzly bear population within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is estimated to be approximately 600 bears (Haroldson and Frey 2011) bears. Approximately 150-200 of these grizzly bears are estimated to have home ranges at least partially inside Yellowstone National Park. There are no current scientific estimates of the black bear population in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, however black bears are considered to be common in the area.


Petrified Tree, Yellowstone Park. This remnant of a great primeval forest turned to stone through the ages has to be protected from unthinking souvenir hunters by a jail, however, a good view may be had of it despite the barriers. Nearby, though leveled to the ground within the past decade, is a buried stump nearly six feet in diameter.

Today: (It’s still there!) The Petrified Tree, located near the Lost Lake trailhead, is an excellent example of an ancient redwood, similar to many found on Specimen Ridge, that is easily accessible to park visitors. The interpretive message here also applies to those trees found on Specimen Ridge.


Lake Hotel, Yellowstone Park, is one of the four large hotels operated in the park by the Yellowstone Park Hotel Company. It overlooks Yellowstone Lake, the largest body of water in the park, which has an area of 139 square miles and is at an elevation of 7,730 feet above sea level. He worked at this hotel.

Today: Still there and operating! Lake Yellowstone Hotel is undergoing a full interior multi-million dollar renovation including lobbies and public spaces, restaurant, bar and guest rooms. The work will be done in two phases. Phase 1 will be completed in June 2013 and includes 45 guest rooms, dining room, lobby and front desk area. Phase 2 will begin by 2015 and will involve all remaining rooms, the Lake Deli and public spaces.

This historic hotel, originally built in 1891, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1991. The elegant structure, known for its Colonial architectural influence, yellow exterior color and huge white columns, will benefit from a major structural stabilization as part of the early renovations. The interior features a massive Sunroom lobby overlooking Yellowstone Lake and a lake view dining room. 45 guest rooms will be involved in the first phase of renovations and will now include in-room wired internet availability. Other interior improvements will be the addition of a business center with computer stations and wired internet for Lake Hotel guests, and a redesigned lobby bar that will serve Sunroom and dining room guests.

For 2013, Lake Yellowstone Hotel is accepting reservations for renovated and non-renovated guest rooms. Non-renovated rooms do not include the amenities, including internet, associated with the newly renovated rooms.


The Lookout, summit of Mt. Washburn, 10,346 ft., was built by the National Park Service as a fire lookout, and resting place for guests. From here the majestic Teton Mountains, many miles away are visible, as well as a good panorama of the entire park.

Today: Still there and still functioning. The link takes you to a more current photo (1997). Mt. Washburn is the only lookout accessible by vehicle.


Grand Prismatic Spring, near the crater of the now extinct Excelsior Geyser in the Midway Geyser Basin is considered one of the most beautiful hot pools in the region. It is always quiescent, and steaming.

Today: Grand Prismatic Spring, located in Midway Geyser Basin, has the distinction of being the park’s largest hot spring. It measures approximately 370 feet (112.8 m) in diameter and is over 121 feet (37 m) deep. A description of this spring by fur trapper Osborne Russell in 1839 also makes it the earliest described thermal feature in Yellowstone that is definitely identifiable.


Sylvan Lake and Top Notch Peak, Yellowstone Park. Sylvan Lake is at an elevation of 8,413 feet, while a short distance to the East is Sylvan Pass, 8,559 feet high. This picture is one of the most popular of the entire Haynes’ collection of the park.

Today: Cutthroat trout are native to Sylvan Lake. Between 1913 and 1943, however, an additional stock of over 2.5 million fry was added to the lake. In 1978, longnose suckers were discovered in the lake, likely having found their way there from Yellowstone Lake via Clear Creek. Today, fishing for cutthroats is catch and release only.


In Yellowstone Park there are approximately 1000 buffaloes (American Bison). The majority of these constitute the Lamar Valley herd., some of which are in this picture. The “show herd” of only a few buffaloes is quartered at Mammoth Hot Springs during the summer season.

Today: The bison (Bison bison) is the largest land mammal in North America. In a typical year, more than 3,000 bison roam the grasslands of Yellowstone National Park. Bulls are more massive in appearance than cows, and more bearded. For their size, bison are agile and quick, capable of speeds in excess of 30 mph. Each year, bison injure park visitors who approach too closely.


Yellowstone Lake, elevation 7,734 feet, has an irregular shore line of 100 miles, twenty miles across, and is fed by springs and glaciers of the mountains surrounding it. Its waters are cold, clear, and swarm with native trout.

Today: Recent research by Dr. Val Klump of the Center for Great Lakes Research and the University of Wisconsin has revolutionized the way we look at Yellowstone Lake. Figuratively, if one could pour all the water out of Yellowstone Lake, what would be found on the bottom is similar to what is found on land in Yellowstone; geysers, hot springs, and deep canyons. With a small submersible robot, the researchers found a canyon just east of Stevenson Island which was 390 ft. deep. Prior to this finding, the deepest spot in the lake was thought to be 320 ft., at West Thumb.


Roosevelt Lodge in Lost Creek Canyon, overlooks the Lamar River and Yellowstone River Valleys. Near here President Roosevelt camped for a month in 1903. The surrounding country provides countless interesting nature studies.

Today: Named for Yellowstone enthusiast Theodore Roosevelt who regularly visited the park, this rustic log lodge and cabin facility was built in an area of the park that was a favorite of Theodore Roosevelt.


Crater of Mud Volcano, Yellowstone Park, a paint pot about thirty feet in size emitting frequent bursts of steam; but since 1898 has had no violent eruption. In 1870 N.P. Langford witnessed an eruption of the Mud Volcano which attained a height of several hundred feet.

Today: When the Washburn Expedition explored the area in 1870, Nathaniel Langford described Mud Volcano as “greatest marvel we have yet met with.” Although the Mud Volcano can no longer be heard from a mile away nor does it throw mud from its massive crater, the area is still eerily intriguing.

21 comments on “Yellowstone National Park 1931-32

  1. Rusha Sams says:

    At least your dad wrote messages on the postcards even if he didn’t send them. I’ve bought countless cards and they’re still in a drawer waiting for me to do something with them. I like the way you used Today as your hyperlink to more information! And I love our National Parks!!!

    • I am glad he wrote on them and I’m also glad they didn’t get sent and that I have them! I’m like you. I have a lot of postcards I’ve purchased through the years and never did anything with. I’m glad we have our National Parks and they’ve been protected. Otherwise, I fear they would have been turned to concrete like so much of our land. Thanks!

  2. gpcox says:


  3. Thank you for sharing the postcards and information. They are remarkable and informative.

  4. Sheryl says:

    I agree with gpcox. It’s an outstanding post. The old postcards are so much fun. 🙂

  5. Great collections of vintage postcards.

  6. cindy knoke says:

    We stayed at The Lake Hotel in Yellowstone a year and a half ago. I posted photos. I am confused by this German keyboard, or I would send you the post. Love this post!

    • Thanks, Cindy! I found your post on Yellowstone. I just love that these places are still there. I, too, hope their renovations don’t change the old Lake Hotel too much. I would love someday to try and retrace (as much as possible) my Dad’s travels. I did see a little of Yellowstone in the 70’s but was just traveling through. I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog.

  7. nicocobell says:

    I’m a huge fan of Yellowstone! I’ve only ever stayed for one night and been on my way, but I would love to stay there longer and really explore some of the places you’ve mentioned. I’m also really bad about sending my postcards just like your Dad. I do send some, but some are filled out and never get a stamp.

  8. Flora Poste says:

    How I enjoyed this post! To answer your question: we moved to Ohio last December and we love it! We traveled in America since the last 25 year but mainly on the East Coast. We are so fortunate to have the chance to actually live in this great country. Yellow Sone park is on top of our travel list! Thanks again, Johanna

    • A great big welcome to you and your family to our beautiful United States! I’m flattered that you’ve enjoyed my entries. I’m enjoying yours! Our National Parks are treasures to be savored! 🙂

  9. cindy knoke says:

    Love this & loved The Lake Lodge even before the rennovation!

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