Geyser Bob's Yellowstone Park History Service
Serving the Greater Yellowstone & Surrounding Gateway & Historic Communities
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MHS-Cottage & McCartneys
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MHS-Cottage & McCartneys

Yellowstone Park Hotels & Lodges - MHS
McCartney's Hotel & Cottage Hotel

Copyright 2009 by Robert V. Goss. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced
or utilized in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by an
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Click Here for Map of Mammoth Area - 1903 Chittenden Topo Map

Click Here for Map of Mammoth Area - 1912 Haynes Guide

Click Here for Map of Mammoth Area - 1930 Haynes Guide

McCartney's Hotel

 [Photo Courtesy YNP Archives #50787]
 James McCartney staked a claim at Mammoth Hot Springs with Harry Horr in 1871, prior to the establishment of Yellowstone National Park.  They claimed a homestead of 160 acres at the mouth of Clematis Gulch on July 5 and built two cabins that year. The cabin used as a hotel was a 1-story log building 25 by 35 feet with an earth-covered slab roof. Guests were required to provide their own blankets and slept on the floor. During a Yellowstone visit in 1874 Lord Dunraven commented that it was “the last outpost of civilization – that is, the last place whiskey is sold.” A third cabin and outbuildings were erected the following year.
Other cabins and outbuildings were constructed in the following years. These cabins were the only lodging in Yellowstone until George Marshall built his hotel in the Lower Geyser Basin in 1880.  Harry Horr later released his claim to McCartney and went on to establish the nearby coal-mining town of Horr.  In the early 1880's the government kicked McCartney out of his holdings and used them for other purposes. One of the cabins became the post office and general store. McCartney settled in Gardiner and went on to become one of the town's prominent early citizens.

  [Photo Courtesy YNP Archives #10643]

 Advertisement from the Bozeman Avant-Courier, May 6, 1880 for the Bath Houses and Hotel at Mammoth. McCartney advertises "Board by the day or week at reasonable prices," and noted that "The Bath Houses are under my personal supervision." In the days before regular stagecoach travel, he tells visitors that "Pack Horses and Guides can be secured at the Springs at reasonable prices."
 A crude bathhouse was built on the nearby Hymen Terrace and five plank shacks were eventually built containing wooden bathtubs.

McCartney's Hotel was taken over by Sam Toy in 1902 who operated a laundry. The building burned down in December of 1912. 

 [Photo Courtesy YNP Archives #122298]

Bozeman Avant-Courier, July 17, 1874


This celebrated resort is now open for the accommodation of the public.  A No. 1 RESTAURANT is under the immediate charge of Mr. Engesser, formerly of the Metropolitan Hotel, Bozeman.
The BATH HOUSES are under the management of one of the best physicians in the West.
SUPPLIES for Pleasure seekers and Tourists can be purchased here at low rates.
A WELL KEPT CLUB HOUSE, remote from the dwelling houses, will be supplied with the best. [Liquors, cigars, etc.]
PACK TRAINS FOR THE PARK will connect here with Zack Root's Bozeman line. Anyone desirous of making "The Grand Rounds," and who wish to avail themselves of experienced guides and pack trains, will do well by addressing us. Knowing all the Guides, we will recommend none but the most experienced.

Single bath house near Liberty Cap circa early 1870s.

Later view of bath houses, greatly expanded in size.
T.W. Ingersol Stereoview #1116

Geo. W. Burch stereoview photo of Mammoth circa 1910 (although reputed on the reverse to be 1913??).  In the foreground in the Commissioner's House while center left is the National Hotel. The Cottage Hotel is located to the left behind the tree and the Jenny Henderson Ash General Store is between the hotels.
(Click image to enlarge)

Cottage Hotel

 The Cottage Hotel was constructed by former Assistant Superintendent George L. Henderson (G.L. Henderson) and his family in 1885,  A 10-year lease was issued by Interior earlier in the year to George's son Walter and daughter Helen. The hotel opened to guests on Christmas Day in 1885. The 3-story log building was 36'x40' in size and was open year-round.  Two years later a two-story 75-room addition was erected.  The Henderson family conducted guided tours of Mammoth and the Park with guide that included guides Helen Henderson Stuart, Charles Stuart, and Henry Klamer. The family tried to provide decent lodgings at moderate prices. 
[Cottage Hotel during the winter, ca1890. Photo courtesy Ole Anderson Collection, Montana State Univ. Archives, Bozeman, MT] 
 The Henderson family's attempts to compete with the powerful Yellowstone Park Association eventually failed and they sold out to YPA in 1889. Members of the family continued to manage the hotel for a few years afterward and George was retained by the company for as a lobbyist and promoter. His daughter Jennie Henderson Ash established the Mammoth General Store in 1896, while daughter Mary and husband Henry E. Klamer built the general store at Old Faithful in 1897.
[Cottage Hotel carriage with guests in front of Liberty Cap. The Cottage hotel is to the left of the "Cap." YNP Archives #963] 

From the Northern Pacific Railroad brochure Wonderland, for the year 1906:

"In the late fall and during the winter and spring, the deer, sheep, elk, bison and antelopes may be seen on the hills and in the valleys around Gardiner and Mammoth Hot Springs. Those who care particularly to see these animals in their native state can be comfortable accommodated at the Cottage Hotel at the Springs for several weeks after the regular park season closes and in the spring before the regular hotel opens, June 1st, and means of conveyance can be found Gardiner and the Springs."

From the 1921 Annual Superintendent's Report:

"At Mammoth, the old Cottage Hotel was thoroughly renovated throughout; the floors and plaster walls were all taken out, and replaced with new, and this building placed in excellent condition for use as a dormitory for male employees."

 YPA closed down the Cottage Hotel in 1910 and remodeled it in 1921 for use as an employee dorm.
[Photo Courtesy YNP Archives #30739]
 Cottage Hotel circa early 1960s. The structure was torn down in May of 1964.
[Photo Courtesy YNP Archives #03048]

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