The Yellowstone Trail - Waterville, WA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 47° 38.780 W 120° 04.425
10T E 719763 N 5281141
Quick Description: The early twentieth century version of today's I-90, the Yellowstone Trail was the "FIRST coast-to-coast auto route across the northern tier of states". A historical marker about the trail can be found at the Douglas County Museum.
Location: Washington, United States
Date Posted: 1/30/2019 1:01:11 PM
Waymark Code: WMZZZN
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Ambrosia
Views: 2

Long Description:
A small museum chock full of interesting artefacts of the Douglas County area, we understand that the highlight of the collection is a meteorite which is part of a fairly comprehensive rock and gem collection which includes gems, minerals, petrified wood, meteorites and thundereggs (similar to geodes). The 73.25-pound iron and nickel Waterville Meteorite, discovered in 1917, was the first to be recovered in the state.

To the right of the entrance is this large plaque, relating the story of the Yellowstone Trail, the FIRST coast-to-coast auto route across the northern tier of states. Appropriately, the trail passed through Waterville, almost certainly within feet of this marker, as the museum stands on the east side of Highway 2, then the path of the Yellowstone Trail.

In 1912, a group of small town businessmen in South Dakota undertook an ambitious project to create a useful automobile route, the Yellowstone Trail, across America. This was at a time when roads weren't marked, there were few maps and slippery mud was the usual road surface.

The Yellowstone Trail Association located a route, motivated road improvements, produced maps and folders to guide the traveler, and promoted tourism along its length. It became a leader in stimulating tourist travel to the Northwest and motivating good roads across America.

Today, almost all of the route of the Yellowstone Trail is on slower, less traveled roads. Some sections of the Trail, especially in the West, have remained little changed and are a delight to visit. We are the modern version of the YT Association with members who enjoy exploring the YT, learning about its history, researching its location, and exchanging information and ideas.
From Yellowstone Trail

The plaque has a map of the entire route, from Washington to Massachusetts, several period photos and a brief timeline of the early days of the Yellowstone Trail. Following is text from the plaque.

The Yellowstone Trail

The first coast-to-coast auto route across the northern tier of states
A good road from Plymouth Rock to Puget Sound

Before 1912
Railroads dominated long distance transportation. Local roads were dust and mud. There was little help from government so owners of the newly arrived autos rose to the challenge.

Small town businessmen from South Dakota formed the Yellowstone Trail Association to "get out of the mud" and to pressure counties to build long-distance automobile roads.

They named the transcontinental auto road Yellowstone to draw tourists along it to the national park. Roads and autos were crude and travel was tough. With no maps tourists relied on guide books and yellow rocks to find their way.

The Yellowstone Trail was extended from Chicago to Seattle and, by 1919 to Boston. Yellow and black signs were posted across the country. The Association promoted the opening of Yellowstone National Park to private auto travel.

In 1925, after the Blewett Pass was improved, the YT was rerouted to the north at the request of the city fathers of Wenatchee. It was 143 miles shorter than the original Walla Walla route.

Until 1930
Hundreds of towns supported the famous Yellowstone Trail. The Association created free campgrounds, travel bureaus, and publications to help the traveler.

Route numbering, now an international system but begun by the State of Wisconsin in 1918 and implemented for US routes in 1927, removed the need for named routes. Then the Depression spelled the end for all trail associations.

Photo goes Here

Marker Name: The Yellowstone Trail

Marker Type: City

Town name: Watervill

Date marker was placed: 2013

Placer: Douglas County Historical Society

Related website: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:

A description of your visit, and more pictures would be great!

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