Historical Note - Week of February 21st

The Livingston Enterprise, February 22, 1890

Railroad to Cooke City.

The following from the pen of Prof. G.C. Swallow, state mine inspector, in his semi-annual report, is a sound and logical plea for railroad transportation to Cooke, and coming from a disinterested source will be received with interest by readers of the ENTERPRISE:

Cooke City would have had a railroad and been on the way to a great and wealthy camp had it not been for an opinion of a few based on facts purely sentimental and illusory that no locomotive should enter the sacred precincts of the National Park and wake up its sleepy denizens to the necessities of the surrounding country.

It is said that a line due east from Gardiner forms the northern boundary of the National Park. Some deny this and declare that the Yellowstone and Soda Butte creek are the legal northern boundary. Be this as it may, the powers that be declare the aforesaid imaginary line, stretching over mountains and across valleys, to be the boundary, and soldiers are stationed to enforce it. But for all practical purposes, save to make trouble for the miner and the hunter, there might as well be no boundary; for no human being, neither miner, hunter nor soldier, can tell where that line is, unless he carries a theodolite, a kit of mathematical and astronomical instruments and a book of logarithms, sines and cosines. When the miner makes a discovery he cannot tell whether the sound of his pick will be heard in a state which will encourage his labor and secure him the benefits of his discoveries, or whether the first blow will bring to his side the soldier of a great republic, who will drag him away to prison and to unknown fines and penalties.

Should a bear or mountain lion or skunk dispute his right to prospect in those wild regions filled with mineral veins, or a pheasant or deer tempt his appetite, he cannot tell whether the crack of his rifle will send harmless echoes through the mountains or make him a criminal in the land.

All well know there is not a single natural feature north of the Yellowstone and Soda Butte creek that is mentioned in the guide book as worthy of the tourist’s attention.

And besides the region between the imaginary boundary and the Yellowstone and Soda Butte creek is essentially a mining region, and the mines on Crevice mountain and in Crevice gulch really come down so near the Yellowstone that all the ground on the north side of that stream is needed for working them successfully.

In fact, there are many reasons why those streams should be made a part of the northern boundary, and none have been given why that boundary should be an imaginary line over such a mountain region that no one can know its position till it be marked by innumerable monuments.

A railroad on the natural route from Cinnabar to Cooke City up the east side of the Yellowstone and Soda butte creek would add twenty dollars to the value of every one of the millions of tons of ore in the mines around Cooke City. And this road would be built at once, should congress grant the right up this natural route on the northern border of the National Park. Why not?


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