Page images

about 20 large and 50 small bridges, with many culverts, etc. Estimated cost, as revised in 1889 by my predecessor, $444,779.42.

The act of Congress approved March 3, 1891, changed the project of the part of the belt line between Lower Geyser Basin and Yellowstone Lake by requiring the road to be built "by the shortest practicable route" from Fountain Geyser to the thumb of the Yellowstone Lake. This change did not materially affect the cost.

At the beginning of the year the roads that were open to travel were: Completed roads.-(1) The road from Gardiner to Mammoth Hot Springs, Norris, Lower and Upper Geyser basins completed, except a projected stretch of 8.9 miles of new road in Gibbon Canyon, designed to replace an equal length of the old road and some minor changes in the location of different parts of the road. (2) The road from Norris Geyser Basin to the Falls of the Yellowstone.

Uncompleted roads.—(1) The road from Upper Geyser Basin to the Fails of the Yellowstone via Yellowstone Lake and outlet, except two short sections. (2) The two roads known as the Madison Canyon road and Howard trail, from the western boundary line of the Park to Lower Geyser Basin, where they joined, and their continuation as one road to the uncompleted road from Yellowstone Lake outlet to the falls. (3) The road from Mammoth Hot Springs to Yanceys and its continuation to eastern boundary of the Park.

Total amount expended upon the project since commencement of the work, 1883 to June 30, 1891, including outstanding liabilities, $259,779.42.


The close of the last fiscal year found the work well under way partly by contract and partly by days' labor. One firm, Wyatt & Scott, were engaged upon their contract, while Mr. A. Z. Partello was, after looking over the ground, about reaching the conclusion to abandon his. The facts before me at this time indicated that he had not the means to execute his contract, and that any effort to force his bondsmen to execute it would only end in delay and probably failure. His bid was altogether too low and had not been based upon any knowledge of the local conditions.

Consequently, when he abandoned the work on the 4th of July, I took advantage of a clause in the contract which enabled me to proceed with his work by days' labor. The possibility of his failure had been fully foreseen and a plan of procedure discussed and adopted to meet it. On account of the magnitude of the work in hand and the extreme shortness of the season within which it could be accomplished, there was not a moment to lose, and four additional parties were immediately organized and placed in the field. Attention is invited to the celerity with which this was accomplished. Four entire outfits of tools, camp equipage, and provisions had to be purchased, and, together with four large crews, placed at work in the wilderness at a distance of from 60 to 80 miles from our base. Two parties were at work on the 16th and the other two on the 19th of July.

With the hope of holding up Mr. Partello in the execution of his contract I sent Mr. W. A. Campbell, an experienced contractor in road work, to look over the ground and engage himself to Partello to supervise and execute the work. An examination of the ground convinced him that the loss on the contract would be so great that he would not be likely to get anything for his services, and he declined to undertake it. Mr. Partello failed to satisfy him that he had any funds for the

execution of the work. Whereupon, after notifying his bondsmen and trying to get them to undertake the work, I laid the matter before the Chief of Engineers, with the recommendation that the contract be annulled. Under date of August 25, 1891, this recommendation was approved.


Under date of May 30, 1891, after advertisement in the papers of Minnesota, Montano, and Oregon, I opened bids for furnishing team hire for the season's work in the park. The specifications required that the teams should be furnished, together with a complete contractor's plant for clearing and grading for as many parties as I might wish to place at work. The lowest bid was $5.10 per day for each two-horse team and driver, including the whole plant. This was a reasonable price. No formal bonded contract was entered into, but Mr. A. L. Love, of Livingston, Mont., who made the proposal, carried it out in a very satisfactory manner in the face of many and trying difficulties.


The objective of the season's work was to open what may be called a Belt line passing the principal points of interest and doubling on itself at Norris. This required the completion of about 53 miles of new road lying mostly out of reach of supply roads. In order to supply one of the mountain camps and those on the lake shore water transportation on the lake was necessary, and a steam launch was shipped out from Minnesota for the purpose. After considerable difficulty in getting it from the railroad to the lake, a distance of over 60 miles, it was fitted up and served the purpose admirably. Not only did this effect a great saving in the transportation of supplies, but it was the move which rendered possible the great amount of work done in such a short time. The line constructed crossed the Rocky Mountain divide twice where it involved heavy and difficult work, and then followed the lake and river shore the rest of the distance, crossing all the streams and swamps. The greater part was in a country very densely timbered, with the dead and fallen timber so thickly interlaced upon the ground as to be passable only to pedestrians.

A base of supplies was established at Mammoth Hot Springs, with a secondary base at the outlet of Yellowstone Lake, and after a little friction at starting the crews were very well provided for.


In order to make a record of the work done, as well as that which had been previously done, I gave careful instructions to the assistant engineers on the line of contract work to make such measurements and observations as would enable me to make a good map of the road and the country immediately alongside of it. I regret to say these instructions were only partially executed. The work progressed so rapidly that all of their time was taken up in laying out work for the crews. A special party operated on the line of the completed roads. Here, too, my instructions were not fully carried out, and hence I am unable to present an exact estimate of the cost of placing gravel on the roads, since I have no exact information as to the location of the gravel and the stretches of road which will require it. The results of these measurements are

embodied in a series of road maps* herewith. The profiles* are in the report of Lieutenant Chittenden. Together they make a good record of the work done up to date, and will form a foundation for all future work. Based on the exact information thus secured, a map of the Park has been prepared. A copy is herewith.

The record shows a few grades and locations which doubtless may be improved, but if we could complete it with the story of small appropriations and the pressing necessities in the early history of this work, for making an opening through the woods and mountains somehow or other, and that very quickly and with insufficient means, the surprise would be that it should have been so well done. In those days it was out of the question to make anything more than common dirt roads. But even as some of our finest modern railroads have been evolved from a beginning of track and bed such as we now laugh at, so will the dirt roads in Yellowstone Park in time evolve a system of beautiful graveled roads.

In laying out the new roads I have kept constantly in view the fact that they are to be pleasure roads and not lines of commercial transportation. The best location and grades have been studied in the light of instrumental measurements. Points of view have been sought and an effort made to have each drive a series of pleasant surprises in landscape. The line along Yellowstone Lake and River is one of bewildering beauty. The contrasts are magnificent. I do not hesitate to say that in due time the scenery displayed by these drives will rival the wonders of the Park in its attractiveness.


It is essential that they

Good roads are the climax of civilization. have easy grades, that they be well drained, and that the surface be hard and reasonably free from dust. It is more than all essential that they be kept continuously in repair. The surface of a park road need not be so hard as that of a traffic road. In Yellowstone Park during the spring season, when the frost is coming out of the ground, the roads will be but little used. Commencing about the 1st of June, the roads will be used until about the 1st of November of each year, only four months. Obviously, a well constructed road surfaced with gravel will suffice. After grading, the bed should be hardened as much as possible by rolling, after which a well-rolled layer of gravel should complete it. The ditches should be pitched with stone in steep places and the subway drained by tiles beneath the ditches. These tiles can be

made in the Park.

A considerable portion of our roads passes through gravel deposits and will need no further surfacing. The remainder lie within easy reach of an abundant supply of gravel. It is mostly obsidian, or volcanic glass, and makes an excellent road covering. On account of its great specific gravity its dust does not fly sufficiently to create any serious annoyance. It is not likely that after being graveled the Park roads will ever need watering except over a few short stretches. At such places an effort will be made to suppress the dust by sprinkling. I do not think the cost of graveling such portions of the roads as need it will be excessive. It is impossible with the data at hand to make a close estimate, but during the coming season considerable graveling

*Not printed.

will be done with a view of strengthening the weak places against the traffic of the World's Fair year, and the exact cost will thus be determined practically. I should say that it would cost not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 per mile.

The question of repairs will hereafter be a prominent factor. An average of $100 per mile per year is very much within the experience of those who keep up good roads. This on a length of 200 miles becomes $20,000 per year. But new roads cut through mountains and hilly country will for a few years require excessive expenditures for repairs. There will be many slides to remove and soft places to brace up. RÉSUMÉ OF SEASON'S WORK.

During the month of July the two Government crews working on the road between Fountain Geyser and Yellowstone Lake had by the end of the month accomplished: At east end 23 miles of completed road and an additional half mile cleared; on the west end, 9,000 feet completed, and cleared and grubbed 2 miles additional. Work on the road from Grand Canyon to west end of Yellowstone Lake was vigorously pushed all along the line. Contractors Wyatt & Scott, for section 4 (7 miles in length), have now completed 4 miles. Sections 1, 2, 3, and 5 had been placed under contract with William Z. Partello, but he having failed to commence work, Government crews were organized early in the month and commenced construction; 4 miles were graded and 6 miles were cleared ready for grading. The lumber for all the large bridges on new roads had been sawed and part of it delivered at the bridge sites. The road repair crews completed necessary repairs on Brickyard Hill and commenced work on Canyon Hill. They, besides, kept all the roads in good order during a period of very heavy rainfall.

During August the forces at work built 6 miles of road in addition. to completing 24 miles grubbed and cleared in July, making a total of 13 miles built since July 1.

Contractors Wyatt & Scott, for section 4 (7 miles in length), built 2 miles of roadway, making a total of 63 miles since commencement of work.

Sections 1, 2, 3, and 5 had been placed under contract with William Z. Partello, but he having failed to commence work, Government crews were organized early in July, under the progress clause of the contract, and placed at work on sections 1, 2, and 3. On September 2, Mr. Partello having still failed to commence work, he was given notice of the annulment of his contract. The work, however, was vigorously pushed by the Government crews. They completed 6 miles that had been cleared in July, partly built 2,200 linear feet of corduroy, making a total of 10 miles of completed road, besides the corduroy, since commencement of work in July.

The road repair crew completed the repair work at Canyon Hill and also removed a large quantity of dirt that had been washed into Gardiner Canyon by a severe storm.

During September, at the beginning of the month, work was progressing at all points where road construction had been planned for the season. Foremen Askey and Wells were working on the line from Firehole River to the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, and their parties were within 2 miles of each other. Foreman Williams, with whose crew that of Foreman Humphreys had been consolidated, was at work on the lake shore about 4 miles from the West Thumb. Foreman Martin, who relieved Foreman McCoy, and with whose party that

of the sawmill had been consolidated, was encamped about 5 miles from the Lake Hotel, and was at work repairing and fixing up the partially constructed road running from the Lake Hotel about 73 miles around the lake shore.

Foreman Dougherty was encamped a few miles below the Lake Hotel on the river shore and was at work on the river road. Foreman Wyatt was encamped about 1 mile above Mud Geyser at work on the river road. Foreman Hart, of the disbanded bridge crew, was at Williams's camp, and, with help from the latter party, was constructing bridges on that portion of the work. Another party, detached from Martin's crew and under Subforeman Henwood, was constructing two large bridges on section 3.

The steamboat, which was temporarily disabled in the latter part of August, was in operation again on the 7th of September.

On September 6 Martin's crew broke camp and moved to the vicinity of the Fountain Hotel, arriving there on the evening of September 7. I had laid out a system of roads in that vicinity, which it was hoped to complete before the end of the month. The force was first put on that stretch of road which extends from the hotel to the vicinity of the military camp across a wet, swampy district. This party continued here till the end of the season. On the 10th, after an inspection of the entire work, I directed a suspension of all work on the 15th. By that time the road from Upper Geyser Basin to West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake was open for travel, and completed, with the exception of some finishing work upon about 1 mile east of the Continental Divide. The road from West Thumb along lake shore to Yellowstone River was open for travel and completed, except about 2 miles yet to be widened and partly covered with clay. The road from the lake outlet to the Grand Canyon was completed; and 1 mile of road near the Fountain Hotel was opened for travel and completed, except the gravel covering on a short portion. This makes the following results for the three months' work of this season:

Miles of road completed, 53.

This opens the belt road through the principal objects of interest in the Park. The six working parties were discharged on the 15th and marched into Mammoth Hot Springs in 2 days, where they were paid off and quietly dispersed by the 19th.

In conclusion I desire to express my thanks to Lieutenant Chittenden and his assistants for their zeal and hearty coöperation in the work. Amount expended during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1892, including outstanding liabilities, $75,000.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »