1873 Northern Pacific Railroad SurveyFunded by a grant from National Park Service, Our Montana board members, Howard Boggess, Mike Penfold as well as Dave Eckroth recently completed a ten year extensive study of the Northern Pacific Railroad survey of 1873. The Yellowstone Expedition, as it was called, was an attempt to develop a railroad through the wild country along the Yellowstone River. Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Gull and their bands of Sioux warriors were ready to resist any attempt to build a road for the ‘iron horses” through their hunting grounds. George Armstrong Custer and 1500 men were enlisted to protect the railroad surveyors. Several battles and skirmishes occurred that summer of 1873, including one where Custer and a small contingent of his cavalry came very close to getting surrounded by several hundred Sioux, a lesson he seemed to forget when he returned to the Yellowstone three years later.
The Yellowstone Expedition had a photographer by the name of Pywell. He took many pictures of the Expedition which are located in the National Archives in Washington, DC. A few of Pywell’s images are displayed on this page.
Read more on this historic document in the July 27, 2013, Billings Gazette article, “Researchers uncover details of 1873 Northern Pacific survey”.
Copies of the 600 page study of the history and battles of the 1873 Railroad Survey are available for $25.00 each. Please send a check and your address to: Our Montana, P.O. Box 699, MT 59103 and we will send one to you.