Yellowstone’s Old Faithful geyser
Yellowstone National Park is a 3,471 square mile park located in the northwest corner of Wyoming and the border edges of Idaho and Montana. On March 1, 1872, it became the first national park in the United States and, it is widely believed, in the world.
Geological and Hydrothermal Features
Millions of years of tectonic activity are responsible for Yellowstone’s broad plateaus and surrounding mountain ranges, fossil forests, lava flows, and other geological features. The park’s travertine terraces, colorful hot pools, mud springs, and more than 300 geysers—including the famously dependable Old Faithful—are its main attractions for millions of tourists every year.
Early Human Presence
Artifacts dating back 10,000 years have been found around the lake, proof that the famed explorers whose names have been linked with Yellowstone since the 1800s were not the first to reach the region. Native American tribes and their ancestors traveled, hunted, and traded in the region for thousands of years.
In 1807, explorer John Colter, previously part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, became the first known American of European descent to see Yellowstone. The Washburn-Langford-Doane expedition in 1870, followed by the Ferdinand Hayden expeditions in 1871 and 1872, completed thorough surveys of the region. Hayden’s reports, including evocative paintings by Thomas Moran and photographs by William Henry Jackson, were key in convincing Congress to make the land a protected park.
Yellowstone National Park
Cognizant of the need for preservation (and the potential for tourism), the U.S. Congress wrote up a bill to set the land aside “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” President Ulysses S. Grant passed and signed that bill into law on March 1, 1872, making Yellowstone the first U.S. National Park.
Learn more about Yellowstone National Park through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.
Articles and Clippings about Yellowstone National Park
Efforts being made to have Yellowstone declared a national park Thu, Jan 18, 1872 – 7 · Helena Weekly Herald (Helena, Montana) · Newspapers.comBill on making Yellowstone a national park is passed in Senate Thu, Feb 1, 1872 – 2 · Helena Weekly Herald (Helena, Montana) · Newspapers.comExcerpt from article on Act of Congress to create Yellowstone National Park on March 1, 1872 28 Mar 1872, Thu Helena Weekly Herald (Helena, Montana) Newspapers.comYellowstone National Park founded in 1872 Fri, Apr 12, 1872 – 1 · The Neodesha Citizen (Neodesha, Kansas) · Newspapers.comDescription of Yellowstone 1872 Thu, Feb 8, 1872 – 1 · Hartford Courant (Hartford, Connecticut) · Newspapers.comAccount of Yellowstone geysers, 1891 Thu, Jul 30, 1891 – Page 1 · The Oshkosh Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) · Newspapers.comSecretary of the Interior gives licences to transport passengers in Yellowstone Tue, Jun 13, 1893 – Page 5 · The Saint Paul Globe (Saint Paul, Minnesota) · Newspapers.comArticle identifies Mrs. H. H. Stone as alleged first woman to visit Yellowstone Park Sat, May 13, 1899 – 12 · The Butte Daily Post (Butte, Montana) · Newspapers.comImprovements in Yellowstone Park 1904 Sun, Jun 26, 1904 – Page 2 · The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, Utah) · Newspapers.comYellowstone Trail, 1915 Sun, Jun 6, 1915 – Page 25 · Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota) · Newspapers.comPhoto of the Roosevelts at Yellowstone, 1937 Tue, Sep 28, 1937 – Page 8 · The St. Louis Star and Times (St. Louis, Missouri) · Newspapers.comNews coverage of the 1959 Yellowstone earthquake Tue, Aug 18, 1959 – 1 · The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, California) · Newspapers.comImages from 1959 Yellowstone earthquake Wed, Aug 19, 1959 – Page 3 · The Des Moines Register (Des Moines, Iowa) · Newspapers.com"U.S.'s Largest Park - Yellowstone" Sun, May 5, 1968 – Page 23 · Battle Creek Enquirer (Battle Creek, Michigan) · Newspapers.com"Yellowstone Welcoming The Wolves at Its Door" Thu, Dec 19, 1968 – Page 9 · Great Falls Tribune (Great Falls, Montana) · Newspapers.comYellowstone fire timeline - 1988 Sun, Sep 25, 1988 – 18 · The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) · Newspapers.comThe effect of the 1988 fires on Yellowstone Wed, Nov 23, 1988 – 54 · The Dispatch (Moline, Illinois) · Newspapers.comEditorial: "Yellowstone needs wolves" Fri, Jul 9, 1993 – 4 · The Missoulian (Missoula, Montana) · Newspapers.comExpedition in 1870 led to the creation of Yellowstone National Park Thu, Dec 8, 1994 – 6 · The Independent-Record (Helena, Montana) · Newspapers.comFirst photograph of Old Faithful, taken by William Henry Jackson in 1872 26 Feb 1997, Wed The Jackson Hole Guide (Jackson, Wyoming) Newspapers.comMap of Yellowstone National Park details locations of lodges, lake, geysers, etc. 16 May 2001, Wed The Jackson Hole Guide (Jackson, Wyoming) Newspapers.comYellowstone National Park wildlife Sun, Jul 27, 2003 – 168 · Daily News (New York, New York) · Newspapers.com"Yellowstone super volcano not ready to erupt" Thu, Oct 23, 2014 – Page D5 · Statesman Journal (Salem, Oregon) · Newspapers.com
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