Old National Park Postcards

Have you ever seen the movie "National Lampoon's Vacation"? It is a silly movie staring Chevy Chase. The story follows a family on a road trip between Chicago and Los Angeles. Along the way, they even make a stop at the Grand Canyon (a scene in which Chase reaches into the cash drawer at the El Tovar Hotel on the South Rim and steals a handful of cash). If you've seen this movie, you may remember the opening title sequence. The intro is a 3 minute slide show of postcards from an earlier era played to the tune of "Holiday Road". If you are having a hard time remembering this sequence, someone has posted an amateur version on google video.

I am reminded of that Vacation opening when I look at this collection of old National Park postcards on display at the nps.gov website. This particular exhibit looks as if it's been on the web awhile (probably since 1997), but I think that even adds to its appeal! This online exhibit has postcards from 8 different parks, including Acadia, Glacier, and Rocky Mountain. Another piece of the exhibit called "Wonderland" displays postcards of Yellowstone tours before the arrival of the car. I have enjoyed clicking around through this website.

I like the style of these old postcards. In fact, I even have a few framed in my house, pieces discovered wandering through antique shops. My favorite of these framed cards is one depicting a bear in Yosemite being fed from a Model-T type automobile. It is so hard to imagine that scene happening today, but in an earlier time, that was the expectation of adventure in the parks.

Pasted below are a couple of postcards from the NPS exhibit. I chose these two because they are of the same location in Yellowstone, the Loop at Sylvan Pass, but created at different times. These images come directly from the NPS website.

Sylvan Pass Loop with Horses

Sylvan Pass Loop with a Car




I'm a sucker for old Yellowstone postcards, and have a modest collection. Much more enjoyable than collecting stamps. Actually, I collect Yellowstone memorabilia in general. I've got a signed copy of Nathaniel Langford's book, The Discovery of Yellowstone National Park, stereotypes, some old maps and some other interesting items, ranging from a salt shaker to bottled Old Faithful Ale and even some hand-painted glass images. Definitely a fun way to track your favorite national park.

Unfortunately, I don't yet have copies of either of the two Sylvan Pass postcards you've pictured.