Monday, August 25, 2008

Patchwork Garage

One attraction in Old Chico is the License Plate Garage. In the 1940's, Lundy Counts built the garage and paid kids five cents for each license plate they brought him. Soon, he had enough to cover his garage. Over the years, some plates have been taken while others have replaced the missing. The result is a perfectly patch worked building.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

What's in a name?

Why the Old Chico Cottage? The name comes from the tiny settlement where the cottage sits which was once a mining town. Many families were able to make it here during the Great Depression mining for gold, my mother's family being one of them. The original name for the town was Yellowstone City, but as the town moved further up the creek for protection from Indians, the name changed to what it is currently known by locals, Old Chico.

Chico because, as local historians say, there was a little fellow named Chico who used the hot springs to wash his dirty duds. I am sure most of the miners in town used the hot springs for that, but the man named Chico must have been unusual and the name stuck.

{One of a few old buildings still standing in Old Chico}

The Roosevelt Arch

Gardiner, Montana was one of the first tourist entries into Yellowstone National Park. In 1903, the railroad came all the way into Gardiner and people entered the park through the enormous arch we now know as the Roosevelt Arch. Roosevelt because Teddy was visiting the park when the construction started on the arch and he placed the first cornerstone. The top of the arch is inscribed with the words, "For the benefit and enjoyment of the people." The arch is still intact today and in great shape.

{Photo by Lindsay Wright Photography}

Gardiner also includes other historic sites such as: the Engineer's office, designed in 1903 by Hiram Chittenden of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Scottish Rite Chapel, 1913; Capitol Hill, former site of Superintendent Norris' headquarters blockhouse; Kite Hill cemetery, 1880s, containing graves of early settlers and employees; Reamer House, designed in 1908 by well-known architect Robert Reamer, an example of Prairie-style architecture; Haynes Picture Shop, photographic studio used by the Haynes family; old roads, railroad beds, bridges; and historic structures in Gardiner.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


A view of the boardwalks and the Mammoth hotel and buildings.

Mammoth Hot Springs is located just inside the Park from the North Entrance. It takes about fifteen minutes to drive there from Gardiner, Montana. Mammoth is unique in that the hot water dissolves limestone under the ground then deposits it on the surface when it evaporates to make these delicate limestone travertine terraces. Really quite beautiful.

Mammoth also has wonderful boardwalks to hike and enjoy the different formations. It is a great way to get out of the car and stretch tired legs.

View the live web cam of the Mammoth area.

Day trip to Yellowstone

Friday we had a day trip into Yellowstone and went to the Boiling River (a must for all vacationers) and the Mammoth Terraces.

The Boiling River is a !hot! spring (130 degrees F) that dumps into the Gardner River. There are pools made from stacked rocks where the hot and cold waters meet and is very enjoyable to swim in. These are located just inside the Park between the North Entrance and Mammoth. Parking is available on both sides of the road.

More about the Mammoth Terraces in the next post.

Guest Comments

Some wonderful comments by a family in 2006. I love the letter from Erin. So cute!