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Gateway to Yellowstone: The Raucous Town of…

Gateway to Yellowstone: The Raucous Town of Cinnabar on the Montana… (2015)

by Lee Whittlesey

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Lee Whittlesey, a Yellowstone National Park historian, has created a work that will appeal to true lovers of Montana history, especially arcane history. Cinnabar, Montana, was a temporary town on the Yellowstone River just north of the entrance to Yellowstone Park. It was the brainchild of an entrepreneur who almost willed the town into existence with dreams of a railhead that would serve the expected numbers of visitors in the 1880s, but had that dream die when the railroad was extended south to Gardner at the exact entrance to the Park.

Whittlesey almost parallels this entrepreneur’s actions by himself willing into being a history of a place that barely existed. But he does it with enthusiasm, with remarkable dedication and truly with love. He has somehow cobbled together a fascinating history of the family and events of Cinnabar…a town that 99% of Montanans don’t even know existed. I loved the detail, the narrative and the tribute to a place that is gone….but while it lived had high hopes. ( )
  jfurshong | Aug 31, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was a delightful history, both human and geological, of the development of Yellowstone. I have a friend who has lost count of how many times he's been there, so I've gifted this to him. Gateway to Yellowstone fills in the knowledge gaps about what we all thought we knew about this natural wonder and the rough necked pioneers who first arrived on the scene. ( )
  varielle | Apr 20, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
An interesting piece of history but a slow read. I have become too used to historical books written as novels whereas this one was written more like my high school history book. There was a lot of repetition and jumping around in time. I also had a hard time keeping track of the myriad people who appeared for one or two pages and then never again. I did enjoy learning learning about the struggle to start towns in the middle of nowhere and the competition that existed.
  barefeet4 | Oct 8, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This well documented and enthralling book explores the founding and demise of Cinnabar, Montana and the story of Hugo J. Hoppe and his vision. As the railroads and national parks developed, so did the dreams of entrepreneurs. Hoppe hoped to provide for his family by running a hotel for guests at the end of the railway line in Cinnabar. Land disputes prevented the railroad from developing close to the entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Tourists disembarked at Cinnabar and took stagecoaches into the park. Years of hard work by Hobbe and his four sons eventually resulted in accomplishing his goals. Unfortunately unforeseen circumstances led to the end of Cinnabar and Hoppe's hopes. ( )
  modlibrary | Sep 20, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Though hundreds of newspaper articles had already been written about Yellowstone National Park, whipping up public interest around the world, before the railroad came to the town of Cinnabar, Montana in 1883 getting to the park was extremely difficult. This fascinating book tells the history of that town, which only existed for a few decades, but it also gives a picture of the whole country during the last part of the nineteenth century, a sense of what life in the West was like at that time, and through the individuals involved in the Cinnabar’s story it traces the country’s changing attitudes about wilderness areas, and what should be done with them.

At just less than 200 pages of text (there are many more pages of notes, and some photos), Gateway to Yellowstone is both detailed and entertaining. It’s the only book by Lee H Whittlesey I’ve read so far, but he’s probably best known for his book Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First national Park, which is so popular that the 1995 edition was updated in 2014.

I read an advanced review copy provided by the publisher through LibraryThing at no cost or obligation to me. Review opinions are mine. ( )
  Jaylia3 | Aug 28, 2015 |
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"To Hugo J. Hoppe, who deserves his place in Montana history, and to his descendants Robert Moore and Darnell Jean Wills, who have long wanted to give it to him."
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