Yellowstone Yesterday and Today

Paul Horsted with Bob Berry, Yellowstone Yesterday and Today (Custer, South Dakota: Golden Valley Press, 2012)

Horsted - Yellowstond Yesterday and Today
Paul Horsted has become part of the culture of the Black Hills. All around our communities are pairs of pictures, one an historic picture the other a modern picture taken from the same perspective. You’ll find these pictures in nursing homes, community buildings, government offices and homes. Many of our friends have purchased his 2006 book, The Black Hills Yesterday and Today. Many of the historic images in that book are from the Custer expedition of 1874.

The Yellowstone Park book, however, strikes even closer to my heart. For one thing, I grew up in Yellowstone country and we visited the park virtually every year of our lives when we were growing up. I’ve made countless flights over the park and trips through it to show it to guests and friends from around the world. In 1988, when fires burned in seemingly every corner of the park, I obtained a special clearance to fly over a corner of the park to observe the fires and the arial firefighting efforts. Since those days we have visited every 5 years or so. So the scenes in the pictures are familiar to me.

But the layout and presentation of the book strikes me at an even deeper level. The pictures are arranged as if they were old stereopticon slides. We used to spend hours looking at the stereopticon slides at my Uncle Ted’s home. And he had at least two or three boxes of stereo views of Yellowstone Park. His father had bicycled through the park when there were few passable roads, following the horse trails on his two wheeler.

There are some pictures in which the old photos are more familiar to me than the new ones. At Norris and the West Thumb area the fires of ’88 changed the view drastically from what I remember. I can remember several different arrangements of boardwalks on the terraces at Mammoth. And I have a clear memory of the rock in the middle of Tower Falls before it fell.

This book is extremely well-done. Horsted and Berry have done their homework and the perspectives are amazingly accurate. It is a treasure that I will return to over and over again.