Filed Under West Yellowstone

Union Pacific Identification Pylon

West Yellowstone Oregon Shortline Terminus Historic District

Rail-based tourism added significantly to Montana’s economy at the turn of the century, with tourists spending $500,000 in the state each year from 1900 through 1910. The railroad-related buildings scattered near the entrance to Yellowstone Park serve as reminders that the town of West Yellowstone was born because of the railroad. This pylon rises from green grass speckled with wild parsley against a wooded backdrop, defining the eastern boundary of the historic district. Its construction and dedication in 1910 marked the completion of the railroad terminus and the beginning of development by the Union Pacific for the accommodation of tourists en route to the park. Two cement shields of the 1904-1912 Union Pacific logo are mounted on a base of randomly placed welded tuff. The same shield, borrowed in 1905 by the newly created U.S. Forest Service, still identifies that agency today. The West Yellowstone marker symbolizes tourism in its infancy, when railroad travel made the national parks more accessible to all.


Rock Landmark Pylon at N/E Corner of site #322
Rock Landmark Pylon at N/E Corner of site #322 West Yellowstone Historic District West Yellowstone, Montana Gallatin County Rock Landmark Pylon at N/E Corner of site #322 Photographer: Jerry Kannapinn State Historic Office Photo taken July 1981 Roll 12 8/8A (verso) b&w print Source: Official records of the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, Montana Creator: Kannapinn, Jerry Date: July 1981


210 Yellowstone Avenue, West Yellowstone, Montana | Private


The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Union Pacific Identification Pylon,” Historic Montana, accessed May 26, 2024,