History and Culture
Pull back the curtains of history to find out how Yellowstone came to be.
If it weren’t for an artist and a photographer, Yellowstone National Park might never have become the world’s first national park in 1872.
For years rugged explorers returned from the Yellowstone region with stories of a strange landscape dotted with steaming pools and shooting geysers. Most people passed them off as myth.
Things changed dramatically in 1871 when artist Thomas Moran and photographer William Henry Jackson joined a 40-day geological survey to document the area. Through brushstrokes of paint and a camera lens, Moran and Jackson captured the wonders of Old Faithful, the beauty of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and the splendor of Hayden Valley. When Congress viewed the men’s work in 1871, it had an electrifying effect. In 1872, Congress and President Ulysses Grant created Yellowstone National Park.
When you visit Yellowstone, you’ll feel the same wonder those early explorers and artists felt 150 years ago.