GARDINER - MONTANA

Gardiner

Gardiner

Gardiner

Gardiner

Gardiner

Gardiner

Gardiner

Gardiner

Gardiner

Gardiner

Gardiner

Gardiner

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Population 850

Gardiner was officially founded in 1880, but the area has served as a main entrance to Yellowstone National Park since its creation in 1872.

The name Gardiner derives from Johnson Gardner, a fur trapper who operated in the area in 1830-31. He named the lush headwaters valley Gardner's Hole. The river took on Gardner's name although prospectors and explorers who visited the area later in the century were unaware of the trapper Johnson Gardner. In 1870, when the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition passed through the area they began calling the river Gardiner-a phonetic error.

Hayden 1871
Hayden Expedition pack train 1871

When the Hayden Geological Survey of 1871 passed through the Gardiner area they encountered two men, named J.C. McCartney and H. R. Horr, that had laid claim to 320 acres (1.3 km2) and established a ranch and bath house on the Mammoth terraces. These entrepreneurs eventually established a primitive hotel at Mammoth and were not evicted from the area until many years after the park was established.

McCartney hotel
McCartney's Hotel at Mammoth (Yellowstone)

McCartney also went by the name Jim Gardiner and received messages, consignments and such destined for guests of his hotel addressed to: Jim on the Gardiner. On February 9, 1880, a territorial post office was established just outside the park boundary and the beginning of Gardiner, Montana took place.

gardiner 1887
Gardiner 1887

 

northern pacific depot
North entrance Yellowstone Park

In 1883, the Northern Pacific Railway completed the extension of their Park Branch Line from Livingston, Montana to Cinnabar north of Gardiner. In 1903, the line was extended to Gardiner.