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Yellowstone Hotels & Lodges - Marshall's & Firehole

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 Fountain/Firehole Area - 1909 Cambells Guide 

Marshall's Hotel

George W. Marshall received a 1-year mail carrier contract in 1879 for the Virginia City to Mammoth route. He formed the Marshall & Goff Stage Co. with John Goff in 1880 that traveled the mail route. He built a 2-story log house with a 6-room extension at the Firehole River near Nez Perce Creek in 1880 that served as mail station and small hotel.  Their first passengers arrived at the unfinished hotel in early October. That year he also erected a mail station at Norris, possibly in the meadow near the soldier station.

Marshall's Hotel, also known as the Marshall House and National Park Hotel, was the 2nd hotel to operate in Yellowstone (McCartney's Hotel was the first).  Marshall began giving tours of the park in 1880 and his tours were the first known to originate from "within the park."  The Marshall House also housed the Firehole Post Office, established September 13, 1880.
After receiving a 10-year lease from Interior in January 1884, Marshall built a new hotel across the river from his original hotel, near the current Nez Perce Picnic Area.  Marshall assigned half the lease to G.G. Henderson in April and the following year sold out to him. (Article - Bozeman Avant-Courier, 8-18-1881)

Born in Illinois in 1846, George Washington Marshall ventured  west to California in 1860, where he engaged in the blacksmith trade, operated a livery business, and bought cattle for slaughter. He moved in 1868 and managed a hostelry in Utah and stage stations in Nevada. He married Sarah Romrell in 1875 and in 1876 operated a stage line in Montana between Butte City and Eagle Rock, Idaho. Marshall retired from the Yellowstone hotel business in 1885 and moved to Bozeman. He died in 1917.

Click Here for GW Marshall Obit.
Link to Find-a-Grave

 Sarah Ann Romrell was born July 1, 1859 in St. Louis, Missouri. She married George Marshall in 1874 and later moved with her husband to Yellowstone. In 1880 the Firehole Post Office was established and Sarah served as postmistress for two years. She gave birth to Rose Park Marshall on January 30, 1881, reportedly the first white child born in Yellowstone.  In 1881 George left the park for Omaha on business. Expecting to be gone for a month, he stocked up their root cellar with meat and "grub." He later reported that "Soon after my departure one morning two bears came down one mountain, smelling the meat etc in the root house, approaching same and went to digging through the dirt roof. Wife saw it was either kill bears or starve. She took rifle shot one bear through the lungs, he came rolling towards her, she ran in the cabin and closed the door just in time as bear threw himself against it, shaking whole house. He found it useless, however, and left. Wife followed him up the mountain found him breathing hard, shot him through the heart." Sarah passed away Feb. 19, 1929 in Belgrade, Mt. 
Link to Find-a-Grave.

 Near the site of the old hotel is the tombstone of Mattie (Shipley) Culver, wife of park businesssman E.C. Culver. Married on April 6, 1886, they had a daughter named Theda, born in Billings June 22, 1887.  Culver came to the park in 1887 with E.C. Waters as ‘Master of Transportation. He and Mattie spent the summers of 1887-88 at the Firehole Hotel and E.C. became winterkeeper for the hotel during the winter of 1888-89. Mattie suffered through the winter from tuberculosis and died March 2, 1889 and was buried nearby. Her grave and headstone can still be viewed at the Nez Perce picnic area. She was 30 years old at the time. Daughter Theda was sent to Spokane to live with relatives.  Link to Find-a-Grave

Firehole Hotel

 Marshall sold out to partner George Graham Henderson in 1885 and left the park.  Henry Klamer, who later married Mary Henderson, daughter of G.L. Henderson, bought into the business that summer and the two men renamed it the Firehole Hotel. They added two plainly-built 8-room, 2-story wooden cottages at either end of the hotel and made other improvements. Sometime in 1886 the Yellowstone Park Association took over the business and operated the hotel until 1891 when the new Fountain Hotel opened and the old facilities were closed.  The original hotel was burned down and the two cottages were used by the Army for their summer encampment for a few years. Some of the buildings were reported to be still standing by 1914.

T.W. Ingersol Stereoview, St. Paul Minnesota
 James Dean, who later managed the National Hotel at Mammoth and became supervisor of the YPA hotel operation, served as clerk for the Firehole Hotel from 1885-87. John Fossum was in charge in 1888, Walter Henderson in 1889, and Benton Hatch, brother of Rufus Hatch, managed it in 1890. 
 In this undated stereoview by F. Jay Haynes, the Firehole cottages are named the Gibson Cottage and the Red Cottage. 

        Woodcut illustration of the Firehole Hotel in 1888.
  Undated illustration depicting "Mrs. Finch's Camp Hotel, Firehole Basin."  Information about this operation is sketchy - perhaps this was the Hobart Hotel at Firehole that operated 1885-87.  Celinda Finch and her daughter Coda Gillian Finch managed McCartney's Hotel at Mammoth in 1879-80 and the tent hotel at Old Faithful in 1883-85. She moved to Livingston, Montana in 1886 to run the Albermarle Hotel. Mrs. Finch had received permission to construct a hotel at Canyon in 1885, but apparently no construction ever occurred and the lease was cancelled.

YNP Archives Photo #03128 - Click photo to enlarge

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